Friday, October 23, 2009

This vampire 'Freak' flunks

"Cirque du Freak"
One and a half stars

By Thomas Tracy

With every passing year, vampires seem to get more and more anemic on film.

Add “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” to the mix and the usually thick robust genre finally turns to water.

Once feared by millions, vampires are now a bunch of tepid terrors — so much so that John C. Reilly (Hollywood’s favorite schlub with a heart, this time playing the wild-haired Larten Crepsley) is a blood sucker of stature.

In “The Vampire’s Assistant,” a combination of several “Cirque du Freak” children’s books, Crepsley, a marquee star of the freak show, takes young Darren Shan (Chris Massoglia) under his wing (we would say fangs, but there are no fangs) when Darren steals his prized tarantula (the CGI spider, by the by, is 10 times more entertaining than Crepsley).

With a touch of his fingertips (there’s something about sharing blood, but we don’t see it) Crepsley makes Darren a “half vampire” so he could go out in the daylight, run errands and watch over his coffin while he sleeps.

This irks Darren’s friend Steve (Josh Hutcherson) to no end since he’s the one who really, really wants to be a vampire (insert sad violin music here, but nothing too scary).

As Darren learns the ways of the undead (who run very fast and need manicures, but aren’t much different than you and I), a story arc unfolds about a brewing war between the vampires and vampaneeze (vampires who apparently don’t get squeamish over blood), orchestrated by the enigmatic Mr. Tiny (Michael Cerveris).

Then there are the freaks of the freak show, played by a litany of B-list stars from Salma Hayek (the bearded Madame Truska) to Orlando Bloom (Alexander Ribs) and Ken Watanabe (Mr. Tall). But while the freaks show promise, they’re never around long enough to make an impression.

Much like Darren’s love interest Monkey Girl (Jessica Carlson), the upcoming vampire war is left hanging in the air, probably so it could be fleshed out in a sequel (there are 12 books in the series, after all).

But if this is all “The Vampire’s Assistant” has to offer, I don’t see one coming in this lifetime.

“Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant.” Starring John C. Reilly, Chris Massoglia and Salma Hayek. Directed by Paul Weitz. Running time: 108 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language.

Playing at the UA Court Street Stadium 12, UA Sheepshead Bay 14 and Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas.


Copyright © 2009 All rights reserved

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP