Vampire Dad

**

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Vampire Dad
"What might have worked fantastically as a short or as a series of separate sketches scattered through a programme or series becomes exhausting when stretched over 80 minutes."

Raymond (Jackson Hurst) is a vampire. He's also a dad. He didn't mean to be a vampire, but was unexpectedly jumped by Victoria, Goddess of the Underworld (Sarah Palmer), who wanted to utilise his skills as a psychiatrist to comfort a host of unhappy monsters. Fortunately his wife Natasha (Emily O'Brien) and her brother Bob (Barak Hardley) have taken it well, but the situation makes it difficult for them to keep up appearances in their Sixties suburban home, and they're desperate not to let teenage daughter Susie (Grace Fulton) find out.

Made in the style of a popular US TV sitcom, Frankie Ingrassia's only marginally bloody comedy gets its sets, characters and pacing just right, but its success as a spoof is its undoing as a piece of cinema. Comedies like this are by nature shallow and rather wearing, and what might have worked fantastically as a short or as a series of separate sketches scattered through a programme or series becomes exhausting when stretched over 80 minutes. The experience is a little like that of listening early white rock n' roll - you'll enjoy it in short bursts but find yourself longing for a minor note or a change of tempo.

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Ingrassia and co-writer Kathryn M Moseley use this format to make fun of the way such sitcoms typically treat women, especially teenage girls. Susie is sheltered as we'd expect a girl in that era to be, but she knows her own mind, is confident in her own desires and has plenty to teach to her rather less worldly wise parents. Whilst this delivers a degree of satisfaction, however, we get the point pretty quickly and then there's nothing new to sustain the rest of the story.

Chryssanthy Kofidou deserves praise for beautifully observed production design. There are some cute animated sequences and a rendition of perennial classic The Monster Mash to add to the nostalgia value. Despite conscious attempts to look cheap, it's more polished than you might expect in light of its tiny budget. Hardley is fun as Uncle Bob, the only character who really feels fresh, and he gets most of the best lines. Despite all this good work, however, the end result is rather flat and - dare one say it? - lifeless.

Reviewed on: 16 Jun 2020
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In the early 1960s, a family man-turned-vampire struggles with his beastly nature while his devoted wife tries to keep anyone from finding out, including their teenage daughter.

Director: Frankie Ingrassia

Writer: Frankie Ingrassia, Kathryn M Moseley

Starring: Grace Fulton, Emily O'Brien, Jackson Hurst, Barak Hardley, Juli Cuccia, Sarah Palmer, Michael Naizu

Year: 2020

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: US

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