Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant parents guide

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant Parent Guide

In the end, the first film in this franchise (which is clearly built for a future sequel) may still not be a compatible blood type for your family.

Overall C

A bored teenager named Darren Shan (Chris Massoglia) looks for excitement by attending a performance of the Cirque Du Freak. While there, he captures the attention of Larten Crepsley (John C. Reilly), a suspected vampire, who persuades the boy to become his assistant.

Release date October 23, 2009

Violence C
Sexual Content A-
Profanity C+
Substance Use A-

Why is Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant PG-13 for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language.

Run Time: 108 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

Darren (Chris Massoglia) is a reasonably good kid who is getting decent marks in high school (the A’s earn him more allowance) and loves spiders, but his buddy Steve (Josh Hutcherson) isn’t providing the best influence. Despite the friction their friendship is causing with Darren’s parents and teachers, the youth still willingly follows Steve when he accepts an invitation (in the form of a promotional handbill) to attend a travelling freak show.

After lying about their age, the boys settle into the front row seats of the ramshackle theater hosting the event. Soon their eyes are wide with amazement while they view an assortment of impossibilities, like a woman’s hand growing back after being bitten off and a man swallowing the fire of a blowtorch. But it is the appearance of Mr. Crepsley (John C. Reilly) that captures Steve’s attention, because he is sure he has seen the man’s mug in a 19th century vampire painting. Darren, meanwhile, is more impressed with Mr. Crepsley’s pet blue and red spider.

So minutes later when the police storm the auditorium, accusing the show with exploitation, the boys take advantage of the resulting chaos. Darren grabs the arachnid while Steve seeks out Crepsley and begs to become a vampire.

Surprisingly, the stage performer turns down Steve’s request (claiming the boy has “bad blood.”) However, he takes an interest in Darren and even uses blackmail to persuade the young man to become his assistant   which actually means giving his life and becoming a vampire. This preference between the pals eventually leads to a rift and Steve aligning himself with an opposing force of evil bloodsuckers.

The immortal aspects of the characters lets screenwriters have run with creating scenes that would otherwise result in certain death: a truck hits a man and a boy deliberately drinks a vial of poison (he must die to become a vampire). Fight scenes are also intense, with characters being thrown, hit with shovels and smashed against objects. Profanities are mild and relatively infrequent, and a couple of crude anatomical and scatological terms are use. Thankfully sexual content is limited to a budding romance and a kiss between teens.

While this movie doesn’t artistically bite as badly as its obvious competitor Twilight, (its performances are better and there is more character development), there are still good reasons to approach viewing with caution. Depictions of teens considering suicide or taking their life in order to become a fantastical being may be a concern. Parents and teachers are also negatively portrayed. In the end, the first film in this franchise (which is clearly built for a future sequel) may still not be a compatible blood type for your family.

Starring Chris Massoglia, John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek, Paul Weitz . Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release October 23, 2009. Updated

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant
Rating & Content Info

Why is Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant rated PG-13? Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language.

This story about two teens that become transformed into vampires contains scenes of intense hand-to-hand fighting, yet because these characters are immortal, injuries that should be serious or fatal do not result in death. A truck hits a man. Men fight with shovels, hit each other on the head, throw one another great distances and smash each other on the ground. A teacher is fatally attacked (one of the assailants is his student). An immortal man rips the flesh off his arm, leaving just a bone. A poisonous spider bites a boy, resulting in a swollen face and the possibility of dying. A boy drinks poison (so he can die and become a vampire) and then a man (who is a vampire) breaks his neck and throws him from a roof. High school students skip school, engage in minor vandalism, lie and sneak out of their homes. In a freak show environment, strange characters do dangerous things like putting a lit blowtorch in a mouth, swallowing knives and re-growing a hand after it is bitten off. A character appears to have no skin covering his abdomen. A boy eats raw meat. A man and boy exchange blood through their fingers. A boy attempts suicide by jumping from a roof, but is stopped. A teen girl offers her neck so a boy can drink her blood. A romance develops between teens, who later share a short kiss. Language includes two rude anatomical references, two scatological terms, and other infrequent mild profanities. A character says he is “f-ed up,” but later explains he means “freaked up.” Adults drink socially.

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Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant Parents' Guide

Do you think serious topics, like suicide, are less likely to affect people when they are discussed or depicted within a fantastical setting (such as a vampire story)?

Movies often make it appear characters have no choices, for instance when Darren is blackmailed by Mr. Crepsley into giving his life to become a vampire so his friend’s life may be spared. Could he really not have made a different decision?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant movie is February 16, 2010. Here are some details…

Release Date: 16 February 2010

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant releases to DVD in Widescreen, with audio tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, French and Spanish). Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish, and English Audio Description is provided. Bonus materials consist of the featurettes, Guide to Becoming a Vampire and Tour du Freak.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant releases on Blu-ray Disc in Widescreen, with audio tracks in 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English) and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English, French and Spanish). Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish, and English Audio Description is provided.

Related home video titles:

This movie seems to be a mix between Twilight (the story of a young girl who pushes her way into the world of Vampires) and the Harry Potter stories (where a young boy learns he has the potential to become a wizard). This movie is based on a book series by Darren Shan (who lends his name to the lead character). The excitement of the circus can be felt while watching the real Cirque du Soleil perform.