Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

"OK"

Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Review


Based on the books by Darren Shan, this film is an introduction to a franchise, with the coloned title and preparatory storyline. It has a lively, engaging plot that keeps us engaged, even if it is yet another vampire romp.

Darren (Massoglia) is an A-student 16-year-old whose best pal Steve (Hutcherson) keeps getting him into trouble. When they hear about the underground Cirque du Freak, they can't resist a visit. There they meet ringmaster Mr Tall (Watanabe), bearded seer Truska (Hayek) a snake boy (Fugit), monkey girl (Carlson) and many more. But soon they're entangled with the show's star, vampire Crepsley (Reilly), and his mortal enemy Mr Tiny (Cerveris). And when Crepsley makes Darren a vampire, Steve gets so jealous that he joins the other side.

The plot's like a comical, teen-friendly version of True Blood, as the central conflict is between vampires who don't kill humans and the "vampirese" who do.

But instead dark and gothic, the filmmakers keep things light and often wacky.

Everyone cracks jokes, the violence isn't too grisly, and the characters and plot only get mildly shadowy. Although there is some serious subtext, mainly some bleak moments involving Steve's personal journey.

It of course helps that the cast is this colourful and talented. Reilly is marvellously tetchy as Crepsley, trying to teach the reluctant Darren the ropes while fending off Mr Tiny's scheme and resisting a romance with Truska. Hayek manages to create a bit more of a character than the cartoonish, cameo-style roles given to Dafoe, Krakowski, Fugit and others. And the teen trio are engaging and watchable, although only Hutcherson is required to show any real acting chops (which we already know he has).

As the big conflict boils over into a major showdown, the chain of events doesn't make very clear sense. Why does Mr Tiny bother with Darren when he already has Steve? Why do they play this sadistic game with hostages when previous scenes show them to be more ruthless than this? Less-demanding viewers won't care about these things, and it's likely that the next episode will deepen everything considerably. Sure, this light approach keeps it entertaining, but it also prevents it from being a classic.



Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd October 2009

Box Office USA: $13.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $28.2M

Budget: $40M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Fresh: 51 Rotten: 84

IMDB: 6.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Ewan Leslie,

Starring: John C. Reilly as Larten Crepsley, as Steve, as Darren Shan, as Evra the Snake Boy, as Madame Truska, Jessica Carlson as Rebecca, as Mr. Tiny, as Murlaugh, Daniel Newman as Pete, as Annie, Don McManus as Mr. Shan, as Mr. Tall, as Alexander Ribs, as Rhamus Twobellies, as Gavner Purl, as Gertha Teeth, as Mr. Kersey, Tom Woodruff Jr. as Wolfman, as Corma Limbs, Drew Rin Varick as Loaf Head, as Mrs. Shan

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