Movie Review


Vampire spoof ‘Transylmania’ shouldn’t see the light of day

By Tom Russo
Globe Correspondent / December 5, 2009

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“What happens in Romania stays in Romania.’’

Doesn’t exactly roll right off the tongue, does it? This weak bit of nudge-nudging from “Transylmania’’ is indicative of what a forced idea directors David and Scott Hillenbrand are selling with their lowbrow vampire spoof, in which party-hardy college students sign up for a study-abroad program with a curriculum straight out of the Universal horror vault. (You’d guess the movie is trying to latch onto would-be ticket buyers shut out of “New Moon’’ screenings, except that the whole thing seems to be so squarely aimed at the “Dorm Daze 2’’ stoner-video demo.)

Oren Skoog plays campus goofball Rusty, whose online groping with exotic Draguta (Irena A. Hoffman) spurs him to head off to distant Razvan U, with all his pals in tow. There are the tokers (Patrick Cavanaugh, slumming from “Mad Men,’’ and Paul H. Kim); the hot-and-cold twins (Nicole and Natalie Garza); the bubblehead and her wimp boyfriend (Jennifer Lyons and Tony Denman); and a few others who fade in and out of the haze.

Diabolical Romanians luring buff, unsuspecting young Americans into their web seems like a setup for “Hostel’’ parody, but when the “Van Helsing’’ riffs start about 10 minutes into the movie, it’s clear that we’re headed for awfully musty territory. There’s a running joke about a thong-wearing hunchback that would actually make a decent stand-alone skit, and scenes of another character hoping her friends can “recapitate’’ her boast some gonzo gore for “Re-Animator’’ cultists. But the rest of the farce is woefully dull-witted.

Skoog and Lyons can each put dual-role gigs on their résumés - he plays Rusty’s vampire-lord doppelganger, while she splits personalities into a husky-voiced vampiress - but those sample reels should probably stay in Romania, too.

TRANSYLMANIA Directed by: David and Scott Hillenbrand

Written by: Patrick Casey and Worm Miller

Starring: Oren Skoog, Patrick Cavanaugh, Paul H. Kim, Jennifer Lyons, Tony Denman, Natalie Garza, and Nicole Garza

At: Fresh Pond, suburbs

Running time: 92 minutes

Rated: R (crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use, language, and some violence)

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