Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12
UK release date: 23rd October 2009
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 18th September 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Based on a series of books by Darren Shan, this film received mixed reviews when it was released almost a year ago. I have not read the books, so I cannot make any comparisons there, but I have read that people that have read the books were somewhat disappointed with this film. I’ll give you a brief synopsis before I tell you what I think.
Best friends, Darren and Steve go to see a Freak Show after a mysterious car drops a flyer by them in the street. There they see many fabulous acts, including Mr. Tall, Evra the Snake Boy, Madame Truska and last but not least, Larten Crepsley, who Steve believes to be a vampire. Darren is fascinated by the fantastic spider that appeared on stage with Crepsley, and goes to his changing room to kidnap it. Taking the spider to school, Steve finds it and is bitten by it. Darren goes to Crepsley and asks for his help, but he will only cure Steve if Darren is made a half-vampire and becomes his assistant. Darren eventually agrees and Steve is saved. Unfortunately, it means that Darren must now leave his friends and family and join the Freak Show. Throw in a war between two different factions of vampires and the mysterious Mr Tiny and that’s the bare bones of the film.
Now, given the success of the Harry Potter films I can see what the studio were after here, unfortunately it didn’t work too well. I thought the story was a little too complicated and all the way through so much dialogue was wasted explaining what was going on. It is visually very well made, but this didn’t make up for a poor script. Decent performances from all of the main cast, so honourable mentions go to; John C. Reilly as Larten Crepsley, Chris Massoglia as Darren Shan, Josh Hutcherson as Steve, Jessica Carlson as Rebecca, Michael Cerveris as Mr Tiny and Ken Watanabe as Mr Tall. Also nice cameos from Salma Hayek as Madame Truska and Willem Dafoe as Gavner Purl.
It did have its moments and the ending was quite good, but this didn’t make up for a rather uneven and over-complicated plot. I believe it didn’t do all that well at the Box-Office and I can see why. It’s not a great movie at the end of the day, it’s a bit too long and the teenagers will get bored quite quickly. Unfortunately, not recommended.
My score: 5.4/10
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0450405/
Official Site: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant - Official Site