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

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: This overstuffed, scattershot vampire flick suffers from poor characterization and an unwieldy mix of scares and chuckles.


Movie Info

Darren Shan's children's book comes to life under the direction of acclaimed writer/director Paul Weitz (About a Boy), with John C. Reilly starring as a vampire who recruits a young teen to aid him with an age-old undead feud in this Universal Pictures production. Salma Hayek co-stars as one of the film's freaks, namely Madame Truska, the bearded lady, with Ken Watanabe rounding out the supporting cast.

Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Horror, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Paul Weitz, Brian Helgeland
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 23, 2010
Box Office: $13.8M
Runtime:
Universal Pictures - Official Site

Cast


as Larten Crepsley

as Darren Shan

as Mr. Tall

as Murlaugh

as Evra the Snake Boy

as Gavner Purl

as Madame Truska

as Mrs. Shan

as Alexander Ribs

as Rhamus Twobellies

as Gertha Teeth

as Mr. Kersey

as Corma Limbs

as Loaf Head

as Audience Member

as Policeman

as Woman From Town

as Trucker

as Kid Passing By

as Kid in Hallway

as Vampaneze

as Singing Father

as Singing Mother

as Singing Kid

as Singing Kid

as Hans Hands

as Shrieking Student

as Rain Girl

as Mr. Shan
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (32)

teenybopper fiction brought to life on the big screen, realized as the first installment in a potential franchise that fails to offer reasons why mainstream audiences will want to follow it any further.

Full Review… | February 15, 2012
SciFi.com

The film was based on a series of twelve books (that) must've screamed "franchise pay cheques!" to actors like Dafoe, Hayek and Reilly, who would usually have known better.

Full Review… | August 9, 2010
sbs.com.au

Weitz's screenplay (with Brian Helgeland) contains liberal splashes of humour, but in the end the film lacks an emotional hook, perhaps thanks to the lacklustre performances of the young leads.

July 4, 2010
Screenwize

Promises more depth and substance than it delivers, leaving all the fireworks of the visuals to drive the film's appeal

Full Review… | March 6, 2010
Urban Cinefile

This adaptation never quite reaches the sunlight. The difficulty is the credible integration of the normal world with that of the freaks

Full Review… | March 6, 2010
Urban Cinefile

What in the heck is going on here? Not scary, not funny. The story gets lost in the woods. Paul Chambers, CNN.

Full Review… | February 10, 2010
CNNRadio

Audience Reviews for Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

Forget the Vampire -- the casting director clearly needs assistance! Dumb and poorly cast, but the film had a strange, Baroque charm that made it mildly entertaining nevertheless. And I can't help feeling that pitting the "vampires" against the "vampanese" (i.e., the violent vamps) was obliquely racist.

cchclaw
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Playing out much like a young adult fiction book (which it's based off of) it's very clear that the slight disjointed feeling of the plot is the entire studio's fault more than the script's. They are trying to make the next children's franchise with the adaptation of the book of the same name by Darren Shan. The story suffers from the fact that they won't tell us anything concrete or lasting. The characters shown aren't all too developed, mostly because of the bias against using characters that were freaks. They slap on some moral message about equality, friendship, and the choices we make versus who we are, and they believe they can simply define someone as a freak and don't need personalities, relationships, and the intricacies of someone we all want to watch. Yeah, some lackluster effects are good and all, but I would rather hear what Jane Krakowski has to say then see her arm grow back (which was surely the most illogical part of the film.) Using her as an example, I didn't get to know that character one iota. Besides the likable main characters and crass word choice none of this ran as a film with a true plot, but an extenuation of a series of films. It wasn't even a true kids movie, since there is unneeded swearing and some strange choices in violence, the definition of what adolescents say in private, and the romantic angle between Darren (Massoglia) and some nothing girl who is, you guessed it, also a freak. The effects were, for the most part, very low grade, and the mythology between vampires and the "Vampenese" first of all just sounds like veiled racism, and second made either no sense, or left me incredulous. The powers of the vampires have been improved or made new amongst the other hollow vampire related faire as of late, but it wasn't enough to keep it from being camp. Reilly is for sure the best aspect of this film, though he shouldn't fit along with the rest of the cast. Yes, his accent is hard to place or awkward throughout, but his crude weirdness works well with the personality of the character. Most of the stars are for the fact I somewhat enjoyed myself even with all these flaws because it was never meant to be perfection, but some strange sub strait. I just wonder if it will indeed lead to a series of films.

FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Bad acting in this unfaithful unfantastic adaption to a fantastic book. John C Reilly gives a good performance but even he cant save the film from its unconsistent pacing.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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