Thursday, 5 November 2009

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009)

Directed by: Paul Weitz
Written by: Paul Weitz and Brian Helgeland
Starring: John C. Reilly, Josh Hutcherson, Chris Massoglia, Jessica Carlson, Patrick Furgit, Michael Cerveris, Selma Hayek and Jane Krakowski

Plot: There are quite alot of little details in this film which I could go into but for times sake I shall skirt across some of these and allow you to discover them for yourself. So I shall just try to give you the main story lines.

Darren (Massoglia) and Steve (Hutcherson) are normal teenage boys and best of friends. When they find a flyer for a touring freak show they decide to go even though they know it is illegal. While there they see many weird and wonderful acts, including a bearded lady (Hayek), a snake boy and a woman who can regenerate her limbs (Krakowski). But what catches
their attention most is Larten Crepsley, a vampire and his highly poisonous spider. Darren loves spiders and Steve is obsessed with vampires, so they are both drawn to this character. But Steve recognizes Crepsley from one of his historical vampire books so, after the show Steve confronts Crepsley and asks him to change him into a vampire. Crepsley says first he must test Steve's blood but when he does he says it is bad and that he will never turn Steve. Darren meanwhile has sneaked into Crepsley's room and steals the special spider. But after fleeing the building he is picked up by a strange man in a strange car (Cerveris) who talks to him about his destiny before dropping him home.

The boys reunite at school the next day, but Steve is shocked to discover that Darren has stolen the vampires spider. He accidentally releases it, then gets bitten by it and instantly falls into a coma. Darren visits Crepsley in hope of a cure and is told he can have the cure if he becomes a half-vampire. So he sacrifices himself and allows Crepsley to turn him. Steve starts to get better after the antidote is administered but Darren must now leave his family to live life as a
vampire. So Crepsley stages Darren's death but at the funeral Steve realizes that Darren has been turned and is very angry at being betrayed by his friend. After Crepsley has dug up Darren they both move into the Freak Show Campsite while Crepsley teaches Darren how to be a vampire. Vampires do not kill humans, just stun them to drink their blood but the Vampanezee race kill to feed. Steve meanwhile is changed by a Vampanezee member and decided to get revenge on Darren. And the battle begins.

I'm not gonna give any more than this because I think this is enough for you to get an understanding of the movie, and enough to help you decide whether or not it is the type of film for you.

Well the story is good but sadly very predictable. As it is based on a set of books written for teenagers I think it could have been a little bit more challenging and complex (like the Twilight seres). It is great for maybe the younger half of the teens but anybody over 15 would probably finding it lacking a little bit. They could really have worked more with some of the interesting characters that are within the Cirque du Freak. Although I have never read the book so do not know whether they tried to keep it true to the book rather than allowing it to evolve a little to make it more appealing to an older audience. It is a simple and easy to follow story line making it a very chilled viewing experience.

Chris Massoglia's acting is up to a fair standard considering
how early in his career this is. It is pretty much his first decent major role, having done small TV parts and the film 'The Hole' up until now. As vampires, in this film, do not really look or act very differently to humans he had a relatively easy job or transforming form one to the other.

John C. Reilly and Michael Cerveris are the big stars of the show, although the kids are technically the leads I suppose. Seeing as they are both well know and have a number of acting credits behind them you expect a good performance and luckily they do not disappoint. It is just a pity the scripting is again weak and a bit feeble. If it had been better they may have had something a bit meatier and more detailed to work with, to help them expand the characters.

The set and sceneries are possibly the best part.
Dark, eerie and a bit fun they give the film the atmosphere it needs. So my hats off to the set designers and locations scout you are possibly the only part of the team to really live up to the full potential behind this film. The filming itself is basic and nothing really exciting to talk about. No interesting techniques or anything out of the ordinary but I think this may have been a little pointless considering the weak scripting etc.

So overall I would say early teens will like it, adults may not. But if you just want something easy to see, maybe after a really hard day at work where you really can't be arsed to concentrate then it would be ok to see, as long as you don't go in expect too much of the film.

I would give it a 5 out 10


  1. Yeah, I wasn't so sure I wanted to see this. Sound like I can wait for Netflix.

    Good review!

  2. i have to see this one...