Parents' Guide to

Vampire Dad

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Kitschy, low-budget creature feature has cursing, drug use.

Movie NR 2020 80 minutes
Vampire Dad Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

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Vampire Dad is so offbeat that it takes some getting used to -- but it does grow on you. Every criticism is balanced by a compliment. The comedy doesn't hit at first because of distracting issues that are likely connected to the movie's low budget -- such as poor computer animation and audio that sounds like it never went through a final mix. But you've got to respect how writer-director Frankie Ingrassia worked around her budgetary issues by confining all of the live-action scenes to the Walenski home and using Lichtenstein-type comic art to portray the remaining images (even if that animation looks cheap at times). O'Brien nails the voice and mannerisms of mid-century U.S. actresses playing wholesome TV housewives, but her character's nervous energy is so overdone that it becomes irritating. In both delivery and look, Brother Bob (Barak Harkley) never fits the retro style, making him an annoyance at first -- but his take on the character eventually pays off, and he becomes the one you can't wait to see.

The idea is brilliant: A psychiatrist is chosen by the underworld to be bitten and transformed into a vampire so that he can provide therapy to the creatures of the night. It would make an amazing concept for an episodic series; the storylines are endless. Here, it's wasted. The 1962 setting is a red herring that offers nothing. The film's conclusion is a throwaway lip-synced dance number, the type of extra usually meant to play alongside the credits. Vampire Dad's campy, jokey approach feels less like a film and more like a Nick at Nite sitcom that desperately needs a laugh track. Still, the potential is so rich that it will undoubtedly find the small niche audience it's looking for. It was never made to be "good": It was made to become a cult favorite. One way or another, like its subject matter, it seems destined to transform.

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