Following Vamps I saw that Vampire Academy is also available on my subscription film rental service, so I gave that a go too. I knew going in that it was based on a YA book series, had not gone to UK cinemas, and had a CHVRCHES reinterpretation of Bela Lugosi’s Dead on the soundtrack.
Turns out it’s based on the idea of living Moroi and properly undead Strigoi, and Dhampirs as well. Our hero Rose is a Dhampir with a not-at-all-sexual-honest bond with a Moroi princess, the first clue (and the only one for about an hour) that this is not actually for kids. When the second arrived, I thought “whoa, this just went PG-13 all of a sudden” because prior to that it feels pretty much for kids.
The titular Academy feels a lot like a normal Wizard School, as the Moroi have magical power over elements which feel more Wizard than Vampire and only have slight vampire weaknesses - unlike the Strigoi who serve as lurking Orc hordes and a potential Big Bad for sequels.
I dropped into Buffyspeak there because hormonal teens and fanged supernatural action will do that. Our hero has some decent jokes but quite a few fall flat.
Worldbuilding-wise, the Dhampirs and Moroi are low-key enough to masquerade and the Strigoi being a degeneration is pretty interesting - like turning off your humanity in The Vampire Diaries but seemingly impossible to reverse. There’s a bit of background lore in there being multiple Moroi families with claims to the throne, and the school being named after St. Vladimir, a legendary vampire hero spoken of in an Orthodox-style church the students attend on Sunday nights, an intriguing choice that goes unexplored so it’s just a nice background detail here.