Alicia Silverstone as pacifist bloodsucker living in New York City
Some 17 years after her career-reviving hit Clueless, writer-director Amy Heckerling recharges by reteaming with star Alicia Silverstone for another loosely literary contemporary satire. Unlike her neck-biting brethren, Goody (Silverstone) is a pacifist vampire who subsists on the blood of New York City rats, not humans. Centuries old, yet just as youthful as her perky, more recently undead best friend, Stacy (Ritter), Goody tires of keeping up with the latest trends and instead dons passé flapper skirts, reconnects with an old hippie flame (a refreshingly recessive Richard Lewis) and encourages Stacy’s endgame romance with a Van Helsing scion (Stevens).
Despite fine scenery-chewing by old hams Sigourney Weaver and Malcolm McDowell (as a swishy Vlad the Impaler), the film’s comedic potential is defanged by a pervading tone of embittered nostalgia. Goody doesn’t mock our smartphone-loving society with barbed affection – she just wants it to go away. Vamps is commendable as a raw-nerve confession of anachronism – but it’s also what keeps this strained satire from drawing any real blood.