Recap: Forever 16 (2013)

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Lifetime did not spend a dime on a poster, so that tells you absolutely everything about this movie.

In the opening scene, some scared teenage girl gets chased by two masked dudes before getting run over by an SUV. And we’re off!

Now we meet Raven Highgate (Tiera Skovbye), your typical 16-year-old vampire that rides a motorcycle, works at a record store, and has visions of people’s dirty little secrets whenever they touch her hands. Teenagers!

Raven steals blood from the hospital, which is very rude because I’m pretty sure she can just bite a shitload of forest animals, rather than take blood from actual people that need it. Go to your room, Raven! Instead, she visits a cemetery to say a final goodbye to her last human friend, I guess, and take a picture of the gravestone; this entire scene is overseen by a really terrible CGI raven. We get our first useless flashback to Raven’s birth as a vampire, when she was a teenager in the 1940s at a carnival. She’s obviously still traumatized by this memory, but it’s been decades, so it’s probably time to just Get Over It by now.

On her way home, she gets ambushed by a pack of dumb white gangbangers. This is where we’re supposed to learn that Raven is very strong and very fast, as she kicks the shit out of them, but the action sequences in this movie are so very bad that it’s just hilarious. She escapes without a scratch, but not before noticing some Chinese symbol neck tat on one of the dudes.

Just as she’s sitting down with a warm glass of mi—oh I’m sorry, plasma—she gets interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s a detective! This detective, known as Mac (Andrea Roth), has apparently been doing her research and has SOMEHOW discovered that Raven’s a vampire! She’s not there to rat her out though; Mac wants Raven’s help to uncover the mystery of recent teen deaths by going undercover as a high school student in the elite high school. Sure, that’s a thing.

Why should Raven help her? Well, Mac knows “what she is” and has information on other vampires. Raven literally has NO IDEA THAT OTHER VAMPIRES EXIST! I don’t even know what to say about that except NO. She accepts Mac’s proposition, and goes to the police station to get started. When she’s there, she recognizes a mysterious symbol pinned to the evidence board as matching a tattoo on one of the gangbanger’s necks. She’s already better at detectiving than Mac.

Mac and the cop doc run her through a series of physical tests, which she totally destroys. OMG you guys, the graphics are so embarrassing. This is how they tried to show how fast she runs:

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Anyway, the police captain is very nervous about Raven going undercover as a high school student. He remedies this by ordering her to live with Mac so she’s under the roof of an authority figure. Or you just don’t freelance this shit to a vampire??? OMG Mac’s bedroom has an easy four bedrooms, paid for with a detective’s salary. Anyway, she’s ALREADY converted one of the bedrooms into a darkroom for Raven’s photography, despite the fact that it is the same day as the discussion with the captain, and then forbids her from going into the Mystery Bedroom. I hope it’s a sex room!

That night, Raven has a nightmare, and in a trance state, almost bites Mac’s neck while she’s sleeping on the couch? But then the raven – helpfully perched outside the window – squawks at her, and she snaps out of it. Thanks, shitty CGI raven! Disturbingly, we find out that Mac was sleeping with a gun under her head! Now awake, Raven immediately disobeys Mac’s only request and enters the Mystery Bedroom. Rather than a sex room, it’s just Mac’s dead daughter’s bedroom, preserved in her honour. It would be sad if I cared about Mac at all.

Mac drops Raven off at the teen death school, some prestigious place called Winter Academy. We find out that Raven’s been in high school 18 times already. This is what I don’t understand about teen vampires. They know they don’t have to actually be in the school system their whole lives, right? Why not just be a cool carefree teen in a massive city somewhere? Didn’t she manage to have her own apartment just fine?

A cluster of four creepy rich kids – Alexis, Trisha, Jared, and Bran – stare at Raven as she enters the school. At lunchtime, a nice boy from her class, Connor, sits with her and shows her the different factions of Winter Academy like he’s Janice from Mean Girls. When he goes to shake her hand goodbye (what teenager would do this???), she abruptly leaves because…

She’s starving! Raven coops herself up in a bathroom stall and greedily drinks from a blood bag. Gross, but also, wouldn’t she have to keep that shit carefully refrigerated all morning? Wait, should it be warm? I am not up to date with my blood handling codes. She overhears two of the rich girls – Alexis and Trisha – eavesdropping about how much she looks like the latest dead student, Cassie (from the first scene).

On her way home, she goes to the site of where another dead kid – a boy named Jonathan – apparently committed suicide. Raven’s a total creep. She sees that mysterious symbol on a nearby rock and takes a photo of it. She’s a shitty vampire because someone SUPER CLOSE TO HER is filming her do this and she never notices.

One night, she’s on her motorcycle when she realizes someone’s following her. She loses the tail, and then sneaks into Winter Academy to look up Jonathan’s school record, seeing as she’s suspicious that he would kill himself, since he was popular and intelligent. For being really old, Raven is a total idiot. She’s on her way out of the school when she spots some weird kid messing with Jonathan’s locker. She watches him take the head off a stuffed animal to reveal a hidden USB key! They tussle, she steals the USB key, and then vanishes into the night.

The key contains a video of the cool kids, including Alexis and Jared, taking some drug akin to molly or ecstasy, which are stamped with that mysterious symbol! We’re onto something here. Raven shows the photo of the rock to Mac, who literally grabs a book off her fucking shelf and is like THAT’S THE CHINESE WORD FOR “SUGAR.” This is the only detective work that Mac contributes in the whole goddamn movie.

Hilariously, Raven goes to Connor to ask about the drug scene at Winter, and he straight up asks her if she’s a narc. He admits that the drug, known as sugar, is basically crazier than bath salts. Later, she sees the locker kid, a boy named Gage, and follows him outside to watch him deal some drugs. She confronts him, puts her hand on his, and has a vision to find out where the drugs are hidden (I don’t know, but whatever). It’s not really subtle because when she has these visions, her eyes go snow white and it’s totally freaky.

Raven’s theory is that Jonathan got caught up in the sugar scene, and his friend (maybe girlfriend?) Cassie taped the cool kids getting high to help him get some leverage. When they found out that she had evidence of their drug use, they killed her to shut her up. Seems like a bit of an extreme measure to take, no? Raven shows the drug video to Mac, who firmly states that Raven has to infiltrate this clique to get closer.

She basically gets in right away, because she’s hot, even though Jared doesn’t trust her. In doing so, Raven has to ignore Connor (because he’s poor?) and flirts with Bran. We find out that Bran’s been talking to an older dude that hangs around the school, and that his dad has accounts in the Grand Caymans (not important, I just really delight in people being assholes about money). Raven tries to hold his hand to have a BranVision, but he pulls away and says he wants to take things slow (!). Umm, sorry, but I very much doubt that this little shitstain would abstain from HOLDING A HOT GIRL’S HAND. Anyway, he asks her to the upcoming formal and she accepts.

There’s a mini scene where we find out how Raven’s been feeding her blood thirst at school: she drinks it from a bottle and calls it a beet smoothie. Innovative, but still gross.

Raven too-easily hacks into Mac’s police database and looks up the older guy, somehow. Lots of goodies are uncovered here: his name is Frank, he is AT MOST 20 years old, has a combination of weapon and narcotic-related offenses, and is a known gang affiliate. Frank is totally that guy that goes to college, but comes back way too often to party with high school kids to make himself feel cool and older. Or, I guess in Frank’s case, to deal some drugs.

Raven presents her case to Mac and the captain. Anyway, Cap is still wary about Raven, so when she storms out, the following exchange occurs:

Captain: “She’s even scarier than I thought.”
Mac: “She’s a teenager.”

RESPECT YOUR ELDERS!

Oooh! Connor and Raven go for a nature walk, and he kisses her! Get it, Connor! She returns it a little too passionately and bites his lip. He’s hilariously upset about this, even though he’s a teenage boy and would probably pop a boner if Raven asked him to change her diaper (I mean, she is old), but she runs away, humiliated and hungry as fuck. Does this mean she’s horny? When she gets home, she freaks out on Mac about how shitty immortality really is, since all her friends and family have died and left her alone, when Mac calls it a blessing. Mac is the worst. That night, Raven gets into her nightmare trance and is about to chow down on Mac’s tasty throat again when she touches her hand, and we’re into MacVision: her daughter and her husband…were vampires! Mac wakes up suddenly, but does not want to talk about it! (Spoiler: the movie ends on a cliffhanger, so at no point will Mac’s story come to light)

At school, Raven apologizes to Connor and tells him she likes him, but that she can’t get involved with him. She then cries in secret over a montage – my favourite kind – of all their happy times together. Hilarious.

It’s time for the formal! Bran picks her up and this is where I wrote in my notes, “WTF thought he was Jared?!” Apparently, I could not keep Jared and Bran straight. Bran is wearing a very flashy jacket like he’s Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl.

At the formal, she dances with Bran while suspicious Jared glares at her from afar and Connor mopes around. This dancing scene goes on for so long, and it’s really confusing. Bran does not dance like any teenage boy I’ve ever met. The dance is thankfully cut short when he gets a call from Frank, who is right outside! Raven grabs her chance and clasps her hands over his, bringing us to BranVision: he was cooking up some sugar with Jared! Not freaked out by her scary white eyes, he leaves her with his awesome jacket and goes outside with Jared to meet Frank.

She follows them and watches Frank threaten them and drive away. Meanwhile, Connor is watching her watch the boys get threatened! This is when Bran realizes his precious phone is still in his suit jacket, which is unfortunate, because Raven has now disappeared into a school office to download the contents of the phone, which are just details of a mysterious meeting at a warehouse the next night. Suddenly, Connor bursts into the office, only to accuse her of being a narc. I kind of love Connor?

Raven semi-explains what’s going on, ignoring the vampire in the room. She realizes that Jared and Bran are the cooks, while Alexis and Trisha are the distributors, but she still needs to prove the link between the cool kids and Frank. While she’s working on this theory out loud, Connor just flatly asks if she meant everything she said about liking him. Not a good time, Connor! She’s about to tell him she’s secretly a blood-sucking elder when Jared and Bran, who have now realized that Raven’s up to no good and could expose them, start searching for her in the school. Connor and Raven escape in the nick of time, while Jared and Bran are literally running down the school halls, screaming her name. They see the still-lit computer screen (that Raven had been using), put two and two together, and conclude that they have to kill her. Maybe to avoid suspicion later, you shouldn’t go SCREAMING YOUR FUTURE VICTIM’S NAME right before she’ll get killed then, just a thought.

Outside, they don creepy masks – the ones they wore when they chased Cassie in the opening scene – and go on a mad hunt for Connor and Raven.

Did…they bring those masks to the formal?

When they catch up to them in the forest, Bran pulls a knife on Raven, but she shoves him with her vampire strength and he goes flying off into the trees (so, not dead). As they try to escape, Jared follows them to some nearby waterfalls, but then tumbles headfirst into the river (so, very dead). Bye Jared!

Connor and Raven take shelter at Mac’s apartment. The jig is up, so she reveals that she’s a vampire. The only thing he has to say is that she’s “pretty hot for a 91-year-old.” I mean, there are just so many more things you’d think to say before going there, so maybe I don’t love Connor anymore. Also, nobody really seems concerned about the fact that she’s IMMORTAL and that would make Connor super-underage for her. This relationship was not thought out at all!

Ah, the full story of Raven’s vampire roots that nobody cares about: She was at a carnival with her mom and younger sister. A vampire attacked them, leaving her mother dead and leaving Raven a baby vamp. The younger sister is…just plain dead, I guess? The old dead lady from the cemetery was a hospital nurse/stand-in mom that housed, fed, and loved her.

Mac comes home and freaks out at Raven for breaking policies by exposing her secret to Connor. Raven interrupts her to say there’s a major deal to go down tomorrow night. This shuts Mac up.

The next night, Mac and Raven are camped out close to the warehouse with the captain and back-up officers. Frank and his cronies meet Bran and Alexis in the warehouse, which is where they manufacture the sugar, I think. Bran shows them all the materials they’ll need to manufacture sugar themselves, too dumb to realize this means he’s rendered himself effectively useless to these dudes. As such, Frank attacks him with a crowbar. The cops move in to make all the arrests, but Raven’s faster! Frank takes Alexis hostage, but Raven gets a good hold on him and they fight. He manages to escape, while his cronies are all taken down.

WAIT A MINUTE, DEAD JARED WASN’T DEAD AT ALL! He’s a vaaaaaampire, too! He shows up to taunt Raven and then disappears, all but in a puff of a smoke, hissing, “Hell’s coming, Raven!” Dude needs to work on his exit lines.

Oh, then Frank crashes his getaway car and dies in a fire. That wrapped up neatly.

Let’s get to the happy ending: Mac wants Raven to stay, because other agencies have taken note of her special skills (not likely) and will need her help, and that she also knows of a great computer programmer (they cut to Connor here, but do we even know this about him?! We’ve never seen him use a computer once!). Aw, Raven has a new mom!

Now that Raven’s solved the case (without a shred of Mac’s help AT ALL, by the way), she gets her information: the name of the vampire that killed her mother and turned her. How would Mac even get this? Does Mac hang out with vamps on the regular? Are her husband and daughter even dead, or are they MIA vampires? WHAT’S HAPPENING?!

To lay it out clearly, this movie did not have a resolution. It was left open-ended for a sequel that’s never been made. So, great job, Lifetime.

Most upsetting of all are the world’s shittiest song lyrics that sing us out: “In a world of crunching numbers, you are cursed to crunching time…”

THE END

2 Rating

This movie is a weird turn for Lifetime, whose usual fare includes stalking husbands, vengeful ex-girlfriends, and plenty of sex with consequences. Instead, we have a moody teenage vampire solving a really boring crime, getting a boy with whom she can’t maintain a relationship, and finding a really lazy mother figure. Great job with this one, Lifetime. Next time, make your vampires old enough to have sex so that I’m at least entertained by something!

One thought on “Recap: Forever 16 (2013)

  1. Recently,I’ve watched this movie and I really like this movie this is wonderful movie.Anyway,in our society some people thinks that girls are weak but this is wrong I think girls are too power but sorry to say unfortunately,they don’t know how to show powers,But I like Ravens character too much and learned one thing from this movie that we should face all hardships,troubles or difficulties

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