Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Movie Review: Transylmania (2009)

You know, it's shocking to me how critics always seem to miss the point when a movie delivers exactly what it promises. Why pan something that does what it's supposed to do? Are dick and fart jokes really so passe that hoity-toity film critics expect the actors to be spouting Shakespeare and get disappointed when they get words like "Twat-o-Rama?"

This is exactly what happened with the Rotten Tomatoes reviews of Transylmania. The 2009 Hillenbrand brothers' romp through college loser-steeped vampire lore received a 0% rating on the film pundit website. But why? Is it because it failed to live up to the intellectual heights established by the first two Dorm Daze movies from this franchise?

Granted, the film isn't the most intellectual fare on the planet. A group of college kids travel to Romania for a semester abroad, so lead character Rusty (Oren Skoog) can meet up with his internet girlfriend Dragutsa (Irena Hoffman). There, one of the crew -- the bubbly blonde Lynne (Jennifer Lyons) -- is possessed by the spirit of a long-dead sorceress and lover of the evil vampire lord Radu (also Oren Skoog). Radu's resemblance to Rusty leads to a comedy of errors, as does Lynne's split personality. Meanwhile, there are plenty of boobs and lots of drug jokes.

So, American Pie goes Animal House in a vampire spoof. Are we bucking for an Oscar here? I don't think so.

Strangely enough, this movie opened to the third lowest box office since 1982 among films opening in more than 600 theatres when it was released in December of 2009. It opened to only 1007 theatres, which in fact made its total take of just over $260,000 the worst ever for releases greater than 1000 theatres.

So what's wrong with the view of other critics? Well, first of all, I take great exception to their reading of the lead actresses. RT gives all sorts of credit to the acting of Musetta Vander (as Teodora Van Sloan), while skimping out on the work of Jennifer Lyons (as Lynne), claiming the latter's only real credential is that she has appeared in all three Dorm Daze movies.


Vander's performance is obscenely over-acted, thrust to the hilt in melodramatic glop that makes Bela Lugosi's Dracula look subtle. The only thing worse was the performance of the three vampire brides (played tragically by Desiree Malonga, Radita Rosu and Adriana Butoi). Meanwhile, Lyons plays her dual personalities with split-second timing and gear shifts at breakneck pace, never missing a beat of comedic timing. Jumping back and forth between polar opposite personalities (ditsy blonde to evil sorceress) is no mean feat. If anyone exhibits their flexibility and acting chops in this flick it's Lyons.

All-in-all, Transylmania is a teen-slasher-sex-romp with no aspirations of being great cinema. What it delivers are potty jokes, weed, some farts, some boobs, and a predictably silly intertwining of plots. Whatever the critics were looking for, they should know better than to look for it here. Not everything National Lampoon is destined for greatness, but it's OK to giggle when a horse farts.

Hell, even Leslie Nielsen slipped on bat crap in Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

Screw it. Here's a trailer:


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