A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? is a remake of a movie from the 1990s that focuses on a group of female vampires looking for male victims to kill and more women to add to their posse. There's a lot of sexy stuff, including frequent kissing and making out, flirting, and dating; death or feeding by vampires is often styled like a sexual encounter, including a scene set up like a rape during which a woman is forced to become a vampire. At a party where college students guzzle from red Solo cups, a man tries to take advantage of a women who appears drunk; female vampires break it up by killing him. Expect scenes of biting with spurting, pooling, and dripping blood and many lingering shots of bloody faces, mouths, and teeth. Cursing includes "s--t," "hell," and "ass." Real vampire books and movies (Twilight, Dracula) are discussed in a college course that points out some of the clichés and the sexual connotations in the vampire genre. Characters and their dilemmas are treated with more seriousness than in most movies of this ilk, making this one a tad more respectable.
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What's the story?
In executive producer James Franco's campy Lifetime TV movie MOTHER, MAY I SLEEP WITH DANGER?, college co-ed Leah (Leila George) should be on top of the world -- she's just been cast as Macbeth in the school play, she's doing great at school, and she's in love with gothy photographer Pearl (Emily Meade). However, there are several big bummers getting her down: Her mom, Julie (Tori Spelling), doesn't approve of Leah's relationship; her friend Bob (Nick Eversman) is jealous of Pearl and acting really strangely lately; and, worst of all, Pearl isn't just a college student -- she's a vampire, part of a cabal of vampires secretly draining any abusive man they can lay their hands (and teeth!) on, while looking for other women to join them. Leah doesn't quite know what she's up against -- but she's determined to make it work with Pearl, even if their relationship is taking some very unconventional turns.
Is it any good?
The original TV movie was sheer guilty-pleasure trash, but though this remake is pretty darn campy, the acting, writing, and general dignity given to its characters make it a cut above. Leah isn't just a go-for-broke college student who'll date anyone; she's a thoughtful young woman with ambition who takes her relationship seriously, even to the point of having a coming-out dinner with her mom. Of course, the fact that that mom's a stunt-cast Spelling, who was the lead in the original, does lend the proceedings an ironic tone. Spelling's protective-parent motives are also a bit more questionable than those in the original -- is she trying to keep her daughter out of danger? Or is she just upset by her being in a lesbian relationship?
Casting original Danger lead Ivan Sergei as a college professor who dryly explains the sexual/queer connotations of vampire literature and movies was a great touch, too -- it's increasingly hard to take the antics of the lesbian vampire posse seriously when they accompany voice-overs of Sergei and his students analyzing the meaning of horror clichés. But far from detracting from the pleasures of this knowing satire, the academic twist adds to the fun, with the filmmakers finding layers of meaning in Hamlet's magic and doom, too. The filmmakers clearly had a great time making this. Maybe that's why it's so fun to watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents are often more concerned about their children watching violence connected to sex. Does this describe scenes in Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? Why would this type of violence worry parents more than war or fistfights? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
All of the female vampires featured in this movie are female, white, conventionally attractive, and youthful. Why? Does this imply that people who aren't this exact type aren't attractive or appealing? How can movies like this one affect kids' body image?
This movie is a remake of one in which a young woman is in an abusive relationship with an unstable young man. Why did the filmmakers decide to alter the plot? Is this a fresher take on the "bad love" genre?
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