Why does "Vampires Suck," a spoof of the "Twilight" franchise, feel undead on arrival? Probably because it has no heart.
The best satires actually love their victims. Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" paid tribute to classic horror films. "Airplane!" showed a near-scholarly grasp on disaster movies. Even the merciless Mad magazine parodies of the 1970s - "The Ecchorcist" comes to mind - were drawn and written with great admiration for the originals.
Granted, the "Twilight" films are difficult to love. For starters, they feel like soulless marketing ploys (though millions of preteen girls might beg to differ). What's more, they are already self-parodies. At any "Twilight" screening where grown-ups are present, Kristen Stewart's sulking Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson's tortured Edward Cullen will be greeted with more than a few laughs.
The writer-directors of "Vampires Suck," Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, are veterans of the "Scary Movie" and "Date Movie" spoofs. Those covered genres; here, we're limited to one film series, and the jokes run out fast. Matt Lanter preens as the vampire Edward Sullen, a well-oiled Christopher N. Riggi takes the hunky Taylor Lautner role, and Jenn Proske, as Becca Crane, does a dead-on Stewart, sigh for sigh, snort for snort. Ken Jeong, of "The Hangover," slums it in a small role.
"Vampires Suck" frequently mistakes hostility for humor. Characters insult themselves ("I'm a sourpuss," Becca says), carp about the story line ("it's the ultimate pre-pubescent fantasy") and, when all else fails, hit each other or pass gas. It's almost as cynical as the actual "Twilight," and not nearly as funny.