Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant
by Rick Villalobos
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Oh no, another vampire flick. Yes, all of you bloodsuckers out there, you are going to have to wait for the next Twilight installment just a little bit longer. In the meantime, this film about a boy vampire should fulfill your craving. Tired of the same storyline: boy is a vampire, girl falls in love with said vampire, and said vampire becomes a hero - the type of hero that all girls dream about. He is tall, dark and dangerous. The kind of boy you wouldn’t take home to meet your parents, but do so anyhow because he is irresistible and you are a naïve schoolgirl. Everyone likes to role-play, even a tortured vampire in need of a serious acting class.
Cirque du Freak is the first installment in the series of books called The Saga of Darren Shan. Written by London author Darren Shan, The Vampires Assistant delves deeper into the world of the vampire and a boy who by ill chance becomes one of them.
Director Paul Weitz (Little Fockers, 2010) and Universal Pictures have joined together to bring the first three books to life - no pun intended. Fans of the series brace yourselves and stay away from the sun we don’t want any sudden suicides just in case this film sucks…blood that is.
Darren (Chris Massoglia) is a sixteen-year-old goody two shoes who has it all: good grades, two loving parents and a best friend. Steve (Josh Hutcherson) is a no good revel rouser who can’t stay out of trouble. Like two typical teenagers with nothing else better to do (or so the story goes), they sneak out in the middle of the night to see a freak show circus near the outskirts of town. Steve, a vampire fanatic, convinces himself that Crepsley (John C. Reilly), a sideshow performer, is a 150-year-old vampire. Meanwhile, Darren is too busy fascinating over a rare red and blue spider to believe any of his nonsense.
This is the point in the film where everything goes wrong…
This is a children’s film meant for adults. While there are no sex scenes and the violence is subdued (even for a fantasy world filled with vampires) and the language is good enough for any sailor to speak. It is still meant for someone without a Robert Pattinson poster on their ceiling. Granted, if you are a hardcore vampire buff – skip the film and just read the book instead with a nice bottle of red (blood) wine.
Rick Villalobos is a writer and film critic in Chicago.
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