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

Directed by Paul Weitz.  Written by Weitz and Brian Helgeland, based on the Vampire Blood trilogy of books by Darren Shan.  Starring John C. Reilly, Chris Massoglia, Josh Hutcherson, Jessica Carlson, Michael Cerveris, Ray Stevenson, Patrick Fugit, Ken Watanabe, Orlando Jones, Frankie Faison, Salma Hayek and Willem Dafoe.

Plot: Darren (Massoglia) is turned into a half-vampire by Crepsley (Reilly) and joins a sideshow.

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Darren is the perfect boy – the perfect son, the perfect student – until he goes to a freak show with his imperfect friend, Steve (Hutcherson).  Once there, Steve becomes convinced that Crepsley is a vampire because of a picture in a book he read.  And Darren becomes enthralled by Crepsley’s spider, Madam Octa.  So, Darren decides to steal the spider and while he’s hiding in a closet, he overhears Steve begging Crepsley to make him a vampire.  Which is when Crepsley tells him that he has “bad blood” and he will never turn him.

Then there’s a Mr. Tiny (Cerveris) who comes into the picture and ends up turning Steve anyway, but he’s the bad guy of course.  And Darren is turned by Crepsley.  And apparently there’s this destiny that Darren and Steven will begin a war between vampires (who don’t kill humans anymore) and Vampaneze (who kill whenever they can).

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It’s tragic that they didn’t get more movies to flesh out to the story, but I don’t think they’re going to.  And although it kinda feels like they shoved too much story into this one movie, it was a decent film.  The cast was incredible, but we didn’t love the specials.  And Darren really could have been more likable.

Our score: 53.

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