Dave's Rating:


There will be (a PG-13 amount of) blood.

Who's In It: John C. Reilly, Josh Hutcherson, Chris Massoglia, Jessica Carlson, Michael Cerveris, Ray Stevenson, Patrick Fugit, Colleen Camp, Ken Watanabe, Salma Hayak, Orlando Jones, Frankie Faison

The Basics: The ongoing tension between peaceful vampires (they'll sedate you and remove some of your blood but they won't kill you and turn you into one of them) and the more aggressive Vampinese (they skip right to the part where you get murdered and become a vampire yourself) gets ratcheted up a notch when two best friends--one good, one less so--find themselves on the other side of life. The good one gets to be Anne Hathaway to John C. Reilly's devil in Prada. The bad one gets to have all the fun. And the best part is that since this is part one of a planned series, no one has to win or lose at the end. Everything is to be continued.

What's The Deal: There's a lot to like about this likeably lightweight fantasy. The freaks, for instance. In most contemporary films, there just aren't enough bearded ladies and people who can lop off their own limbs and then have them regenerate right before your eye, so I'm fully on board for an ongoing series of semi-cuddly/semi-creepy stories about these folks. But I'm kind of hoping that part two (and no, I don't plan to read the books to find out) either backs off of the already-getting-kind-of-tired vampire wars thing, or invests in some charisma classes for lead teen vampire Chris Massoglia. Because when the center of your movie is a blank slate, the whole thing threatens to fall apart. Every boring actor can't be Tom Cruise.

Big Points For: Presenting vampires as bored, overworked, easily annoyed and grumpily matter-of-fact about their condition. John C. Reilly is an unlikely choice when you think of the stereotype of an overtly erotic pansexual Anne Rice-ian blood-fiend, but perfect when you watch him deadpan his way through this role. When asked by Massoglia, "Will I turn into a bat?" He responds, "No, because that's bullshit."

And Points Off:For the knucklebrained moral they try stick onto the end. Something about how it's not about what you are but who you are. Makes no sense. Vampires don't require self-esteem lessons.

Other Cool Stuff: There's a just-in-time-for-Halloween animated credits sequence that's nice to look at; Stephen Trask's (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) score is the kind of thing you used to have to go get Danny Elfman to create; Salma Hayak makes a great woman with a facial hair situation; and Michael Cerveris (another Hedwig alumnus) is ornately, gayishly oily as the puffy, bald entity who seduces bad teen Josh Hutcherson to the dark side. And as an added bonus for Flight of The Conchords addicts, Kristen Schaal, who plays their only fan on that sitcom, is one of the freaks.


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