Vampire Dog



Anti-bullying messages weighed down by predictable plot.
  • Review Date: September 24, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Meant to entertain rather than inform.

Positive messages

Advises that it's important to share your talents and believe in yourself. Standing up to bullies is essential and results in acceptance from people who really matter. As one character learns: "I can't be friends with people who don't like me for who I am." While the messages are positive, their delivery is rather rote.

Positive role models

Two middle school kids learn the value of not bowing to peer pressure. Though the supposedly "cool" kids taunt those who are smart and want to learn, the "nerds" and "dorks," as they're called, rise above the teasing and win the day. A critical and opportunistic school principal is balanced by a caring teacher who's also an ideal parent. No ethnic diversity.

Violence & scariness

Some slapstick action. Dog-nappers repeatedly find themselves in silly predicaments: they fall, ride in a smoke-filled car with sparks flying, sit on eggs, are doused with flour, crash into drums, etc. The school principal is hit in the crotch by a drum. The lovable dog is captured by authorities and briefly lands in an animal shelter.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Name-calling and teasing by bullies: "mama's boy," "freakazoid," "psycho," "weirdo," "spaz." Some potty humor: dog farts, the dog pees on camera to set an electrical fire in motion, a smelly dog poop joke.


Some identifiable percussion equipment: AB Drums, AAX Cymbals, Paiste.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Vampire Dog includes some silly slapstick action with nothing scary and no serious consequences. The farcical events include exaggerated falls, a van presumably on fire with sparks and smoke, a drum hitting a man's crotch, and the relentless dog-nappers' stepping into messy misadventures (covered in eggs and flour, turned into cats and dogs). There's some potty humor: A dog pees to start an electrical fire, and there's some farting and a poop joke. Mean girls and boys taunt and tease the hero for much of the film, calling him names ("weirdo," "nerd," "spaz") and circulating an semi-embarrassing picture of him. The film includes positive-but-trite messages about standing up to bullies and believing in yourself.

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

A new town, a new school, and a bit of stage fright find young drummer Ace (Collin MacKechnie) teased and tormented by the mean kids. Even Skylar (Julia Sarah Stone), the one friend he's made, is afraid to stand up to them. And Ace's mother, the music teacher who's been hired to try to save the beleaguered school, is a source of embarrassment for him, too. The arrival of Fang (voiced by Norm MacDonald) changes everything. Left to Ace by his recently deceased Transylvanian grandfather, Fang is a centuries-old vampire dog who speaks, can appear and disappear in a flash, and who needs Jell-O (not blood) to survive. Fang is determined to make Ace's life better. Will the magical dog be able to help Ace make friends, overcome his stage fright, and drum in the Battle of the Bands? Can the two of them save "Lugosi School" from closure? And, to save himself, can Fang outwit two greedy villains who want the adorable dog's DNA to perfect their anti-aging cream?

Is it any good?


Some appealing pre-teen actors, a cute dog, and some fun (but amateurish) special effects can't save this predictable, logic-impaired movie. The corny adult bad gal and guy who mug, strut, and overact with gusto join the mean, one-dimensional schoolgirls and schoolboys in an effort to create tension and conflict. It's too broad to really work. And the survival of a school music program plays a part in the story, but the music is of such poor quality that it's hard to root for saving it.

Still, kids who like slapstick villains and a talking dog and who haven't yet developed a taste for "excellent" or even "good," may like it. VAMPIRE DOG is basically a harmless time-filler with a few laughs.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Ace handled the bullying and teasing he encountered in school. What are some other positive ways to deal with people who are hurtful?

  • How did Skylar change? What is peer pressure? How difficult is it to give up being considered popular or "cool" in order to do the right thing?

  • Think about the different approaches to teaching shown by Ace's mom and the school principal. Which do you think worked best? Why?

Movie details

DVD release date:September 25, 2012
Cast:Collin MacKenchnie, Julie Sarah, Norm MacDonald
Director:Geoff Anderson
Studio:Joker Films
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:91 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Vampire Dog was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide