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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Transylmania is a crude, stupid vampire "comedy" with lots of sex, drugs, swearing, and cartoonish violence -- which means it's precisely the kind of movie that younger teens (particularly boys) will try to sneak into after buying tickets for something else. All of the so-called humor is either vulgar or juvenile, and scenes include everything from "humorously" bloody fights and dismemberments to bare breasts to broad stereotypes to frequent use of words like "s--t" and "f--k." The best that can be said for it is that it's more stupid than it is mean. Also, there is an unrated version of this film available on dvd, this review is for the rated versions shown in theaters.
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What's the story?
A group of teens travels to Romania for a semester abroad. There, they learn of an ancient vampire called Radu (Oren Skoog), who hopes to restore the body of his loved one to life -- but her soul is trapped in a lost music box. One of the teens finds the box, his girlfriend becomes possessed by the spirit of the vampire queen, and suddenly vampires swarm the school. To make matters worse, Radu looks exactly like Rusty, another of the teens on the trip. Meanwhile, a mad scientist decapitates a girl in order to find a replacement body for his hunchbacked daughter. During all of this, the rest of the teens are mainly interested in partying and sex. Fortunately, teacher/vampire hunter Teodora van Sloan (Musetta Vander) is on the job.
Is it any good?
All of the so-called jokes in TRANSYLMANIA are either vulgar or juvenile -- a crude mix of sex, foul language, drugs, stereotypes, and noisy bodily functions. It's 90 minutes of idiotic, annoying characters, some haphazard plotting and filmmaking, and little else. It has no artistic or social value, and it contains not one genuine laugh.
The movie's extreme subject matter positions it for older teens, but viewers in that age group will find it far too stupid for their sensibilities. Unfortunately, younger teens may well want to see it, even if they have to buy a ticket for some other movie and sneak in. Our only hope is that the movie -- which sat on the shelf for two years prior to its rushed release -- will burn out quickly and fade away quietly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way the movie makes judgments based on appearances and other stereotypes. Are stereotypes ever funny?
Some of the characters smoke pot almost constantly with no harmful effect. What would have been some of the real-life consequences of their behavior?
One girl is captured and decapitated because she's a "stick in the mud" and wouldn't go out partying with her friends. Should her behavior have been punished? Is it better to be a "stick in the mud" or to party all the time?
Did you think th movie was funny? What made you laugh, and why? Why are different things funny to different groups/types of people?
- In theaters: December 4, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: April 26, 2010
- Cast: Musetta Vander, Oren Skoog, Patrick Cavanaugh
- Directors: David Hillenbrand, Scott Hillenbrand
- Studio: Full Circle Releasing
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use, language and some violence
For kids who love vampires
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.