Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

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A Vampire Story Without Much Bite

In director Paul Weitz's Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, you won't find any glittering vampires, teenage love triangles, or swooning soundtracks. This was a huge relief to my 9yo son, who was instead looking forward to some action and the scarier side of vampire lore.

The Vampire's Assistant was adapted from an extensive young adult book series by Irish author Darren Shan. The story follows a teenage boy-also named Darren (the plot is set up as a 'true story' and the movie is narrated by the boy)-who visits a freak show one night with his best friend, Steve. They are both attracted to different aspects of the show and soon get involved with the shady characters behind the scenes. What results is a somewhat weak story about friendship, change and challenge, and a vampire war.

The movie was enjoyable enough, but very shallow. The dialogue was wooden and the action watered-down. The PG-13 rating was partially due to disturbing scenes, and there are many. But the director went more for the grotesque than the shocking, and there is little to find compelling in the film. The acting was decent, but given the one-dimensional characters they had to work with, again-it left me feeling a little flat.

Motherly Advice: We watched this with all filters set to maximum and I would not have wanted it otherwise. In addition to disturbing images, the PG-13 rating is also for intense violence and some language. I'm not sure what "some" means, but there were many, many instances when the filters blocked foul language. My 12yo daughter said she would have turned the movie off without the filters, just for that reason. If your kids have read the books and want to check out the movie adaptation-or are just curious to see a different twist on the vampire tale-I would recommend this movie (with all filters on!) for ages 10 and up.

Stacey Nerdin-ClearPlay Bite Guard

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