David Lee
Lisa Schwarzbaum
October 23, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
109 minutes
Wide Release Date
10/23/09
performer
John C. Reilly, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Fugit, Salma Hayek
director
Paul Weitz
distributor
Universal
author
Brian Helgeland, Paul Weitz
genre
ActionAdventure, Sci-fi and Fantasy

We gave it a D+

Three books from Darren Shan’s popular vampire-centric 12-book saga Cirque du Freak have been smooshed together to make Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. The carnage from that smooshing litters this hectic yet dull tale about a high school kid named Darren (Holes‘ Chris Massoglia, all too generic) who — long story — becomes a half vampire and hangs out with a traveling freak show, much to the anger of his best friend (Josh Hutcherson). Darren’s mentor is a rather droll full vampire dubbed Larten Crepsley (John C. Reilly, working heroically to keep the movie aloft with his laid-back charm). Crepsley’s nemesis is the angry bloodsucker Murlaugh (Ray Stevenson). Don’t bother to take notes, because subplots go nowhere, and characters — many played ? by well-known actors — barely get screen time. Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, and Jane Krakowski are among those who are there and gone. (Hayek is an entertaining eyeful as a lady with both full boobs and full beard.)

Cross my heart with a stake through it, this Cirque du Freak newbie could barely distinguish between the vampires (the ”good” guys, who have learned how to coexist with humans) and their hungrier, less tolerant rivals, the Vampaneze. But Freak cognoscenti sitting near me were equally underwhelmed, even as a violent showdown had the whole bloody cast flying around and whomping one another. D+

See all of this week’s reviews

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