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Director/Writer: Emily Hagins
Stars: Elaine Hurt, Patrick Delgado, Lauren Vunderink and Lauren Lee
What they say : The kids are biting and the blood is flowing in teenage writer-director Emily Hagins’ horror-comedy breakthrough, MY SUCKY TEEN ROMANCE, the buzzed-about genre sensation. On 17-year-old Kate’s last weekend in town before heading to college, she and her geeky friends head to SpaceCON, the local sci-fi/fantasy convention. There, Kate meets Paul, a recently turned teen vampire (who takes advantage of the gathering’s costume atmosphere by actually dressing as a bloodsucker). But when Kate tries to make a move on him, he gives her the hickey from hell.
Kate and her pals then discover that Paul is not the only vampire at the convention, and it is up to them to kick some vampire butt, or Kate’s going to be attending permanent night school from now on!
What I say: Let it be known that age shouldn’t get in the way of ambition. At the age of 18, writer/director Emily Hagins already has two films under her belt with My Sucky Teen Romance making it her third film. One of the best things I can say about Emily’s talents is that this film is confident. There is an assured style to the proceeding and the films tone is well balanced. It mixes the teen comedy and the horror elements just right, never feeling like it slips into obnoxious teen movie territory like it was made for a Disney channel crowd. The movie doesn’t talk down to it’s teen characters nor does it talk down to it’s audience. While I wouldn’t call it a gore fest, there are still nice splatter moments in the film to remind us that we are watching a movie about killer vampires.
The film falters in only a few areas. The cast does their best, but you can sense the amateur level that their at. I will say that I thought that Elaine Hurt and Patrick Delgado (the films newly turned teen vampires Kate and Paul) played the authentic awkward romance scenes very nicely (because remember, REAL teen romance is awkward…at least, that’s how I remembered it.). While I think that part of the films charm is it’s mirco-budget aesthetic, it does hinder it too. Due to the budget, the film never really gets to play with the idea of real vampires at a convention, and I feel it needed at least one big action set piece to really hit it home in the horror department.
But, the film works on it’s humor, it’s style and it’s giant undead heart.
The Blu Ray comes with a nicely put together Behind the Scenes, a cute short film by Emily called CUPCAKES, a deleted scene, and an fun and informative audio commentary by Emily Hagins and producer Paul Gandersman.
I think Emily Hagins is one or two films away from truly blowing everyone away, but she’s starting out really strong. She has a better sense of story, visual style and control over her film then most directors twice her age. I eagerly can’t wait to see what she’s got next, and hopefully she can make it with budget that’s closer to her ambition. As of right now, checking out My Sucky Teen Romance is not a bad way to be introduced to a young and exciting filmmaker. Hell, watch it now and you can be that person online and gloat “Emily Hagins? I saw her film My Sucky Teen Romance before everyone else.”
And if that’s not enough, you also get to see a fun little teen/vampire flick. You win.
My Sucky Teen Romance will be available to buy on Blu Ray and DVD on September 4th, 2012.