Also, you most definitely are not being harsh. This is the roughest of ideas so if nobody was criticising it, then I would be very worried. So long as your advice is honest, I am totally fine with it, no matter how harsh.
As for research, I totally know what you mean. I understand the incredible importance for it. My story sounds ridiculous at the moment because I've done no research. Literally all I have done so far is spend a few hours writing sparse notes in a little book, ideas for the book. Once I can organise those notes, then I will start researching etc. My story so far is most definitely not to be taken seriously, just a quick draft.
It's very interesting you mention the 'forced vampires'. I believe that if I could hand you my notebook then you would understand their inclusion. But as the writer himself has led you to believe that they're shoehorned in then I will most definitely look into that. I may change their role, or I may just exclude them completely.