In the last five years it would seem that every permutation of vampires has been done—from the metaphorical vampires of True Blood to the sensational teen vamps of The Vampire Diaries and Twilight—except one: a vampire dog. Finally, vampirism has reached the animal kingdom in this straight-to-DVD film. Unfortunately, Fang, the eponymous dog, is not some vicious Cujo-style beast running amok but a friendly Benji-style dog (snarkily voiced by Norm MacDonald) that craves red “jelly” (which is really just Jell-O) the way a human vampire craves blood.
However, Vampire Dog is not really about Fang; it’s a children’s movie about misfits who learn to have the courage to be themselves (sound familiar?). Ace (Collin MacKechnie) is the new kid in town at Lugosi Junior High (a vampiric joke that is lost on the target audience of this film). His mother Susan (played dully by Jodi Sadowsky) is the new music teacher at the school, charged with teaching these children to play their instruments with some level of talent or it will be the end of the school. As the new kid, Ace becomes the object of torment for the mean girls of the school; which sucks for him, since he’s crushing hard on the newest member of that clique, Skylar (Julia Sarah Stone—the only charming actor in this film).
Vampire Dog is never afraid to cling to a cliché. Skylar is a nerd (as evidenced by her glasses) who allows Ace—on whom she’s also crushing—to be mocked by the mean girls. I mean, this is the first time she’s “ever, ever, ever, ever had cool friends,” so who am I to judge? She also happens to be the most intelligent person in the film, but that’s hardly surprising considering that this film perpetuates the children’s film stereotype of making children intelligent and adult’s bumbling idiots. Speaking of bumbling idiots, Amy Matysio and Ron Pederson play Dr. Warhol and her sidekick Frank, who resemble mad scientist versions of High School Musical’s Sharpay and Ryan, dead set on capturing Fang to use his vampire blood as an ingredient in their anti-aging cream.
I can imagine the writer (Tracy McMenemy) shopping this script to Nickelodeon and the Disney channel; but not even the most hard-pressed of the Jonas Brothers would’ve touched this film. And so we are left with this DVD that lacks any nuance.
There are no special features (unless you count the blooper reel during the credits).
"Vampire Dog" is on sale September 25, 2012 and is not rated. Directed by Geoff Anderson. Written by Tracy McMenemy. Starring Amy Matysio, Collin Mackechnie, Jodi Sadowsky, Julia Sarah Stone, Norm Macdonald, Ron Pederson.