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The Vampire's Assistant
DVD disk
02.25.2010 By: J.A. Hamilton
The Vampire's Assistant order download
Director:
Paul Weitz

Actors:
John C. Reilly
Ken Watanabe
Salma Hayek

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Darren and Steve decide to attend the one night showing of the Cirque Du Freak, a traveling band of outcasts, creatures and vampires. Destined to become more than they are, both friends are turned and join opposing sides of a truce on the brink of war.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Despite being a fan of pretty much all films vampire, and though the concept here looked remotely enticing, I was able to deduce from the trailer that this would no doubt end up being a watered down semi-adult, semi childish kind of movie. That bad news is, I was one hundred percent right. THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT has more than a few cool things going for it, but even the most promising elements can be quickly and easily ruined by a PG-13 approach and such is the case here.

The story is interesting enough as are the mythology changes when it comes right down to vampire lore (I never tire of news ways to tell an old tale), but the dialogue was far too cheesy and some of the characters were far too overacted making this feel more like the first Harry Potter film than a serious, atmospheric battle between good and evil. This flick feels like yet another attempt at a franchise for young audiences with loads of foreshadowing toward coming events and a nod in the direction of at least one sequel, which makes sense I suppose as this film is based upon a twelve book series.

The cast is impressive, but again lead me to believe they’re trying to build a larger story as most of them don’t get a whole lot of screen time. John C. Reilly played a cool vampire, and his character wasn’t nearly as bumbling as you’d expect coming from him. Willem Dafoe and Salma Hayek (who still looks hot as hell) both fall under the rarely seen or used category, but Dafoe feels like he’d be pretty important in the next story. There’s nothing at all wrong with the cast, I just found it difficult to take anyone or anything seriously from the heroes or the villains.

THE VAMPIRE’S ASSISTANT will score big points amongst those who enjoy the PG-13 fare, I just don’t happen to be one of those people. If this film was rated R and the dialogue, characters and tone reflected as much, it would have been love at first sight. But for me, a vampire flick need to (for lack of a better saying) go for the jugular and this flick is barely capable of a paper cut. I don’t want to blame TWILIGHT, but once vampire movies start slipping from the horror section into the drama section (and from there into the semi-comedy section) it’s safe to say we have a problem. Granted, there’s a lot more to the Cirque Du Freak than just vampires, but vampires do seem to be the overall selling point here and that makes me a little sad inside.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes: There are just over ten minutes worth here, but nothing stands out. At least I found out where that missing scene from the trailer disappeared to.

Guide to Becoming a Vampire: The director and production team get into the source material for the film (a twelve book series) and go on to explain how they made the film much more serious and darker than the books. From what I can tell the books seem much less childish than the film. Bummer.

Tour Du Freak: This feature is an automated guide around the freak show camp which goes into greater detail about all those who live there. I still don’t understand why Selma can grow a beard.

Previews: There are also a couple trailers that play before the feature.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
There are vampire movies and then there are movies like this one, kiddie flicks trying to be something they’re not. This is all fine and dandy if that’s the kind of freak show you’re looking for, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more bite, I suggest you look elsewhere.
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