Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Fun and Hilarious Vampire Movie, but Somewhat Disappointing.

Author: Gamesmacker from United States
25 October 2009

A very vampire and monster inspired movie aimed for teens, Vampire's Assistant doesn't try to be anything it's not. It's a fun movie that keeps it's audience entertained with a good storyline and somewhat elusive plot. The more you discover in plot, the more you want to know, which is the movie best quality.

The supporting cast sports a number of well known actors, all of whom make this movie something special. John C Reilly gives possibly his best performance in a movie ever, and it was nice to see him doing something else other than be Will Ferrel's silly side kick. He plays the funny, yet mostly mysterious vampire. Ken Watanabe and Selma Hayac also give inspired performances that aren't necessarily important, but add charm none the less. Every different character offers something unique in the movie, from attributes too personality.

This is where my real gripe with this movie comes into play. The actor Chris Massoglia, who plays the main character Darren Shan, offers up nothing to this movie. He presents some of the most emotionless and bland acting in a movie, and shows no emotion for anything. He doesn't get sad, angry, happy, surprised, etc. He delivers every line with a flat monotone voice. He looks even worse next to his veteran co-stars who play much more imaginative characters. Watching him in this movie is like watching paint dry while at a concert. Everyone around you has fun and excitement while you are forced to watch the paint in the middle of it.

Overall, the atmosphere and sound was excellent. The camera angles were for the most part good, and set the tone. The special effects were done impressively and fit well into the movie. Some of the cuts were a little off, and the fire fades were a little tacky but stylish. I would recommend seeing it around Halloween time with friends and family. It doesn't disappoint in comedy, mystery, or entertainment.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A very well done film that screams for a sequel.

Author: garyvanhorn from United States
11 January 2011

I absolutely loved this film. The visual effects are wonderful and John C. Reily plays a terrific oddball vampire, he just looks and feels perfect for the part. The story begins when the Circus de Freak comes to town and two best friends, one a troublemaker the other a straight shooter, find a flier advertising a one night only showing and they decide to check it out.

The ensemble of freaks is entertaining and most have a hint of the supernatural about them, the snake boy, the wolfman, the bearded lady, the man with two stomachs, etc. The star of the show is John C. Reily and his colorful dancing spider, which so enormous the protagonist (Chris Massoglia) that he sneaks into the dressing room to steal the spider, while concealed within the wardrobe he discovers that the Reily is really a vampire, his best friend wants to become one, and that a war between vampires may be on the horizon.

There is quite a bit going on in this film and sadly not all of the sub plots and characters get enough screen time to fully satisfy my curiosity, but the fact remains that I was intensely interested in the film, its characters, and their stories. I only wish this film had been shot with the intention of making a sequel so as to more closely emulate the source material.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Watch out Twilight, Cirque du Freak are in town!

Author: Dazz Camponi ( from United Kingdom
7 October 2010

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant is the latest book series to get the Hollywood treatment, it's just been released on DVD but the question is: Which vampire movie is better- The Vampire's Assistant or Twilight? Drawn to the dark, unpredictable world of the Cirque, 16-year-old Darren decides to trade in his ordinary life for a chance to become an immortal vampire. As Darren explores his newfound powers and faces unexpected enemies, he'll find that his existence as a member of the undead is filled with more challenges, suspense and fun than he ever thought possible.

I haven't read the book series written by Darren Shan (the character in the movie shares the same name as the author) so I can't compare them so this review is from a guy who has just watched the movie and the movie only. I really enjoyed watching this movie but those who want to watch it should be warned that this is blatantly a set up for a sequel. I also understand that each freak in the books have their own story which isn't shown in this movie so I can't wait to see what their stories are. The main story is a great idea and the direction of the movie is quite dark but it works with the movie making it look triumphant. The acting was very good but the actor who shone throughout with his brilliant performance as good vampire Mr. Crepsley was John C. Reilly as his mood matched the movie; funny yet dark. The special effects were stunning especially the work on Octa the Spider and Harkat. The characters were likable moving onto lovable except for the villain Mr. Tiny, he could be annoying at times and it felt like he was just randomly placed.

The timing for the scenes were executed fluently and it went very well until the end of the movie for two reasons. The first reason is that the ending didn't feel like an ending, it just felt like there was a big fight and then massive hints that there would be a sequel. The second reason was because you wanted to know a little more about the characters and their story because they were interesting (but I'm guessing that you will in the sequel). The music very much set the mood for the movie and helped quite a bit in some scenes. Overall, I would say see this as you would kick yourself if you missed this.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Why does this movie have bad reviews?

Author: Enya Sammut from Malta
18 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie was perfect. I see it all the time. I was already a fan of the books and when I found out that there was going to be a movie I was so happy. I admit that the movie and the books are different, but they couldn't stick entirely to the books. First,if they had stuck to the books, Steve wouldn't appear until the third movie and the people who hadn't read the books would be confused. A plot is introduced in the first movie, but continued in the third? Corma Limbs was not Cormac Limbs because the relationship between her and Alexander Ribs made the movie way more interesting. And so on. Every change has reasons and I don't understand people who expect a movie to be an on screen copy of the books. I hope they make a sequel and I would, without doubt, go see it and then buy the DVD. All hail Cirque Du Freak!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: ecloud01 from United States
26 June 2010

This movie was directed very well, and true to the original series. The cast is amazing. I'm a huge fan of Ken Watanabe, and he fits Mr. Tall oddly enough. The balance of storyline and the need for comedy and action is done well. The CG is also done well, from a animators viewpoint. Sadly this film came out at the wrong time. Kinda hard to compete with Twilight for all the vampire films. (Yes I am NOT a fan of that series or the novels, and I have read them.)Also, Little press and publicity didn't do anything to help this great movie.

Definitely one you should check out regardless of the reviews. I can't wait to see if they will complete the rest of the series!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

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

Author: Chris Clark (horrormoviejournal) from United States
14 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wanted so much to enjoy "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant", if only because it seemed like the type of movie I would have enjoyed when I was ten or so. Packed with horror elements but lacking any of the gore or nudity that make parents cringe, it could have been a really solid introduction to the horror genre for those people just shy of the "Twilight" generation. Unfortunately, it is instead a rather weird, cluttered movie that becomes increasingly bogged down in its all-too-heavy plot. When it should be energetic and spirited, it is stiff and monotonous. When it should be serious and mature, it is childish and silly. It's primary problem, the one from which all of its other flaws begin, is that its plot is simply too overstuffed for one movie. There are so many many many things that happened before this movie even began. Rarely are any of these things developed appropriately and, thus, "The Vampire's Assistant" feels like a mish-mash of ideas that never fully meld together for a cohesive movie-watching experience. When the end credits rolled, I stopped to reflect on what I had seen. I felt one thing: disappointment.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Circus vampires, eh?

Author: Max_cinefilo89 from Italy
27 February 2010

In what has to be one of the oddest coincidences in recent years, both Weitz brothers made a teenage-oriented vampire flick in the same year: Chris directed Twilight sequel New Moon, while Paul brought another book series, Cirque du Freak, to the screen. As it turns out, the latter went largely unnoticed at the box office, and for good reason: it is rather dull.

Ditching the romance angle of other vampire stories (Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries), Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant is about a teenager, Darren Shan (Chris Massoglia), who has a seemingly perfect life but wants more out of it. And so, when he sneaks into a performance of the titular Cirque, run by a very real vampire named Larten Crepsley (John C. Reilly), he claims to have found a new home. One bite later, and he's officially a "freak". Too bad it isn't all fun and games: something terrible is about to happen...

By itself, the Cirque du Freak is an intriguing world, and from a visual standpoint Weitz does a respectable job depicting its overall weirdness, thanks to some really strange characters like the classic bearded woman (Salma Hayek) and a girl (Jane Krakowski) who regenerates severed limbs. Throw in Willem Dafoe as a vampire and Ken Watanabe, and it's hard to imagine why the film is so underwhelming. Maybe it's because the movie's world, however interesting, is stuck in a generic, formulaic screenplay that is more about (clichéd) teen problems than the supernatural (and according to the credits, Brian Helgeland contributed to this). Sure, it could make a fine metaphor, but it's pretty much thrown away in favor of the inevitable showdown and promise of more installments.

Or maybe it has to do with the villains gallery: aside from Darren's former best friends (didn't see that coming), the bad guys are reduced to a showy turn by Michael Cerveris (the Observer from Fringe) and the otherwise respectable Ray Stevenson (Rome, The Punisher: War Zone) playing a renegade vampire with zero charisma. Then again, with the exception of Reilly and the too often absent Dafoe, the cast isn't that convincing in general. A pity, because The Vampire's Assistant had the potential to be a slightly different vampire movie. Instead, it's so bland even the first Twilight is a blast by comparison.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable and refreshing.

Author: skin3000 from South Africa
23 February 2010

I hadn't heard much about the movie before I had seen it and therefore had no expectations so was pleasantly surprised by the refreshingly new approach to an otherwise over done genre. I think one has to remember that this movie is targeting a younger audience and don't expect a dark Gothy type Vampire movie.

I have not read any of the books so I didn't need to compare any of the characters or the fact that they pushed three books into one film, I think this does help and what the audience watching the film that have read the books need to understand that one has to separate the books from the movie altogether (its getting rather tiresome hearing people always criticizing any movies against the books).

I am a huge Reilly fan and did find it a little hard to take him more seriously in this role, but once I got use to him I really enjoyed his character. His diversity in acting is just great and I think I like him even more now than before.

I am a great fantasy fan and the world of the Cirque Du Freak intrigued and excited me. I found myself wanting to see more of this strange world these characters are living in and I would have loved to know a little more about the Freak.

I look forward to any follow up films from this title. This is definitely one of those that I will be watching over and over for a while to come.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: Alise_shenle from Singapore
14 January 2010

My friend, who didn't know any better, loved this. Because this is better than twilight. Yeah well, for people like me who read all 12 books in the saga of Darren shan, i'm sorely disappointed. 1. Madam Octa is a stupid red and blue spider. Spiderman is red and blue, idiots, not spiders. She looked so fake. 2. Who the heck is Rebecca? Another love interest? In the book, Darren's love interest is Debbie. 3. Mr Tiny is NOT TINY. He is a FAT, tall man. Plus, he is not supposed to directly intervene or work with Murlagh. 4. Darren's family are not supposed to know he's dead. 5. Evra was the freak, Darren had to choose between saving Debbie and Evra by betraying Crepsley. Not choosing between victims. 6. Why did Gavnar visit Crepsley so soon? 7. Sam is Darren's friend, and the only reason why Darren drank blood. He's not even in this bloody show! Turns out rebecca gave him blood. 8. Vampeneze are supposed to have purple skin and red eyes. 9. REBECCA IS UGLY. ENOUGH SAID. I HATE HATE HATE THIS MOVIE. If i am a director you'd make sure to see me remake these classic stories into non-Hollywood ones which stick to the book

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Nutshell Review: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

Author: DICK STEEL from Singapore
11 January 2010

Hollywood's latching upon its own vampire fad, where every story that has the blood-lusting creatures would just about be green lit for production without batting an eyelid. Then there's this obsessive quest in searching for that juggernaut fantasy film to step into the shoes of The Lord of the Rings, or to fill the void soon to be left by the Harry Potter franchise and after that the Twilight series, like it or not the latter does have some inexplicable box office draw despite being the weakest of them all in terms of story. Many adaptations were experimented with, from The Golden Compass to The Dark is Rising, and almost all have fallen with sequels canned, or spluttering ahead like The Chronicles of Narnia.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, falls into the excellent casting but bad adaptation category, which is sad given its potential to have been great. This is one narrative that sped things up so much that everything became half-baked, from plot to characterization in its failure to draw upon the best parts from the books. Instead it opted for cameos upon cameos from its recognizable stars to stir up some attention, breeze through its complex setup in lieu of long drawn battle sequences which I have to say is cool on one hand, and the other giving it the thumbs down for being shot so badly you can't actually see much other than the collateral damage they bring.

Flashy effects don't make a movie, and if you're an effects junkie then this film has plenty designed for you to wow over, from the introduction of the Cirque which most of it you'd have seen in the trailers already, to the fantastically designed "flash" type moves. One can't tell the powers of this breed of vampires (super-spit, really?) as you get none, as is the background so haphazardly explained, that suffice to know it's all about a prophecy as always, where two best friends will fall out and herald an era of vampire-war. The most powerful vampire you'll see in the film is played by John C. Reilly, who turned out to have some of the better lines in the film, since Ken Watanabe's diction was still something left to be desired.

JC Reilly's wisecracks can tide you through the film at sporadic moments, but it's really difficult to not thumb your nose up at a backstory that didn't bring you up to speed with what's the feud between opposing freak camps. I mean there's plenty of potential built on how the falling out of two good friends would be the catalyst for a prophesied war to spark off, and it took the film great pains to finally get down to doing so, in between trying to show how Darren (Chris Massoglia) learns to get the hang out of being a vampire because he's got good blood, compared to his best friend Steve (Josh Hutcherson) whose lifelong dream is to become an immortal bloodsucker, but too bad that his blood was less tasty and so the seeds of jealousy are sown.

And the acting department is something that's quite the joke in itself. The stars of the show were just hamming it up most of the time, and if you think Robert Pattinson in Twilight was deadpan, you really don't know the meaning of the word until you seen Chris Massoglia in the titular role, which is so bad that you'd tolerate nails on chalkboard a million times than to watch him put through his non-charismatic paces. And if it's the stars that are compelling you to spend time and money on this, with the likes of Ray Stevenson, Ken Watanabe, Salma Hayek, Orlando Jones, Willem Dafoe and Jane Krakowski all making an appearance, well don't just hold your breaths for them to reappear if the scene's out of the cirque. Even Salma Hayek's CG beard can only illicit a tired chuckle after a while.

I would be interested to see how the story further develops from here, but chances are one has to go back to the source material because the movie's bad enough not to warrant a cinematic follow up. Watch this at your own peril as the best bits can be found in the trailer already.

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