Ah, kids today. They try so hard to grow up fast. For instance, Austin-based filmmaker Emily Hagins wrote, directed and produced her first feature film, Pathogen (2006), a zombie movie, when she was 12 years old! The production was profiled in the documentary Zombie Girl: The Movie (2008). But, Pathogen was definitely the work of a 12-year-old. However, the film showed promise, and Hagins‘ third feature, My Sucky Teen Romance (2011), delivered on that promise, for sure.
My Sucky Teen Romance, a vampire comedy, definitely does not suck.
The film’s brief prologue, set in 1958, sets up an unexpected twist. A brooding rebel (Devin Bonnée) watches as a cute, dark-haired girl (Tina Rodriguez) is seemingly dumped by her boyfriend at a diner. He convinces the vulnerable beauty to go for a ride on his motorcycle. “Better hold on tight,” he suggests, as she hops on. “I drive fast. I don’t want you to get scared,” he grins. “Oh, it’s pretty hard to scare me,” she retorts, as she bears her vampire fangs, sinking them into his neck.
Cut to present day, where we meet our wonderful teenage characters played with zest by amateur actors. There’s adorable Kate (Elaine Hurt) and her best friend, cutey Allison (Lauren Lee); caring Jason (Santiago Dietche) and his best friend, dorky Mark (Tony Vespe); and, Kate‘s crush, grocery store boy Paul (Patrick Delgado). All of them are excited to be going to SpaceCON for the weekend. Kate and Allison hope to meet boys, while Jason hopes to hook up, finally, with Kate. However, the brooding rebel from the prologue, now a brooding vampire, robs the grocery store where Paul works, and turns him and his co-worker, Cindy (Lauren Vunderink), into vampires. Later, at SpaceCON, Kate runs into Paul, and, he accidentally bites her neck. Now, Kate and her friends must find a way to keep Kate from becoming a full vampire, and, hopefully, save Paul, too.
My Sucky Teen Romance is an awesomely cool film. Emily Hagins pokes fun at her generation, and, their obsession with sparkling vampires. Her script is witty, and her clever dialogue is delivered with sincerity by the talented young cast (especially Elaine Hurt). The movie is a fanboy or girl’s dream, and, it’s a pure joy to watch.
I love when Kate, frustrated by her situation, says, “Gosh darn it.” Paul wonders, “Not a cusser, huh?” She replies, “Not very good at it.” It’s an adorably sweet exchange, but, honestly, every scene with Kate is adorably sweet. Oh, no! I think I’m crushing on a fictional character! That happens a lot.
Anyway, watch the trailer here:
Did you hear the song at the end? It’s called “The Kids” by Whoa, Palomino, and, it’s heard, in the film, during a montage and over the closing credits. “Show me your fangs tonight, baby, and I will do the same,” singer Annie Long demands. “The kids, the kids, the kids they bite,” she adds. The guitarist, in that band, is Santiago Dietche who plays Jason in the film. Awesome!