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By Mark Bell | December 21, 2013

Zack Chapman brings a modern spin to some classic vampire characters in his short film, Vamp. News reports of a “suburban succubus” have John’s (Seth Baird) filthy roommate Ren (Adam Budron) convinced that John’s new girlfriend, Lucy (Elizabeth Lee), could be a vampire. Meeting Lucy at a bar, and seeing her directly after, do little to make Ren feel better about her vampiric status, and it only gets worse from there.

Certain aspects of the film are clever. For example, anyone who is familiar with Bram Stoker’s Dracula will appreciate the references in the naming of the characters. Re-imagining the heroic Van Helsing as a nutty homeless guy (Martin Pfefferkorn), for example, makes for some amusing moments. But that’s just it, the film succeeds in moments, but not enough of them to justify its almost twenty minute running time.

Because we get where this one is going, and in the meantime the jokes aren’t that funny; it spins its wheels for far too long. The synopsis above shows how simple the story line is, but instead of using that as a launch point to do a bunch of fun or crazy stuff, it instead just seems to be moving in slow motion. By the time the film really picks up, and starts making good on its darkly comedic potential, it’s practically over.

I did find the stylistic editing, and composition, employed in certain sequences, such as in the opening, exceptional, however. It’s in the overall pace where the edit didn’t quite work; the general framing of shots can be a little bland at times, but overall it shows technical chops more often than it underachieves. You know the people involved know how to make a film, and potentially a real memorable one, but that’s not what we have here.

In the end, Vamp‘s occasional cleverness just can’t sustain its length, and the characters are, for the most part, uninteresting or stereotypically flat (loser roommate, well-dressed roommate, sassy new girlfriend, crazy homeless guy). It does have its moments, and is mostly competent or better on the filmmaking side of things, but the film takes a more deliberate pace to a storyline that isn’t meaty, or compelling, enough to fill out this presentation.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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  1. Beau says:

    Saw this at the 2013 Big Apple Film Festival. It was one of the better films in the block. It got a lot of laughs from the crowd. There were some comedic references to other films however that I did not pick up on but apparently received by other audience members.

    **I noticed a typo in the review, the last name of the actor that played Ren was misspelled above. It is correctly spelled “Budron”.

    The music was cool and the editing at times had a nice pace to it.

    All in all I give a 3/5

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