THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Based on the popular young adult book series, “The Vampire’s Assistant” tells the story of a teenager named Darren who stumbles into the mysterious world of vampires and supernatural creatures when he attends a traveling freak show. After his punk friend steals a poisonous spider and gets bitten, Darren agrees to be the assistant to one of the vampires in the show in exchange for an antidote to the spider’s venom. Darren must learn to say good-bye to his mortal world and start live anew in the Cirque du Freak. However, a mysterious man appears, hoping to use Darren to start a war between vampire factions.
WHAT I LIKED
With so many films about vampires as uber-cool romantic figures out there, I welcomed something that presented the classic monsters in a different light. Even though I appreciate “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries,” these all seem to be shilling the horror icons just to sell crappy love stories to the “Twilight” crowd. So a film like “The Vampire’s Assistant” was a welcome reprieve from this.
It was also a neat story of a boy coming of age. With vampirism symbolizing the awkwardness of the teenage years, I could actually connect to this character, rather than the emotional pornography we find in the “Twilight” series.
This film reminded me of the type of books I read a child and became so formative to my tastes. The fantastic element of the Cirque du Freak was fun to shake things up a bit, giving a new twist on the Hogwarts school.
The film offered a neat battle between good and evil, between Darren and his friend. It gave us just enough peril to believe that the characters were in real danger, but it wasn’t overly violent or too inappropriate for my kids to watch.
Oh, and John C. Reilly was awesome in this movie. Did you think otherwise?
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Adapting a young adult book series into a film like this can be a gamble. It’s hard to give the set-up for some later stories, which probably will be far more exciting than this movie was. Sadly, much of “The Vampire’s Assistant” was a set-up for better stories from later books. And with its poor box office performance, we shall never see those come to the big screen.
The Blu-ray comes with exclusive deleted scenes, as well as high definition features: “Guide to becoming a Vampire” and “Tour du Freak.” There’s also a picture-in-picture feature on the U-Control menu, which is always neat to watch.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the book series and boys who can relate to being a little bit different.