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Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant


Latest Home Video

Feb 16, 2010

MPAA Rating:


Run Time:



Chris Massoglia

John C. Reilly

Salma Hayek

Paul Weitz


2009 Universal Pictures

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Still shot from the movie: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant.

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Reviewed by

Overall C
Run Time108

Making the Grades

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.


Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant.

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?

Canadian Movie Ratings

PG Violence, Coarse Language.
AB PG Frightening Scenes, Violence, Not Recommended For Young Children.
MB PG Not Recommended for Young Children, Violence, Frightening Scenes.
ON PG Frightening Scenes, Not Recommended for Young Children, Violence.
QC G Not recommend for young children.

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant...

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.

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Lynn says: Oct. 02, 2009

I’ve seen Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. This movie has quite a bit of humor in it—and is certainly no more frightening for the family audience than the Potter movies. It has something very positive to say about the fact that if matters far less what you are on the outside than what you are on the inside. And also the fact that ‘families’ come in all forms. I think it has both adult and kid appeal.

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