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Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Review

Movies.com Critics

3.5

Dave White Profile

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

2.5

Jen Yamato Profile

These vampires suck, and not in a good way. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    43

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 33

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Subplots go nowhere, and characters -- many played by well-known actors -- barely get screen time. Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, and Jane Krakowski are among those who are there and gone.

    Read Full Review

  • 40

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Making a vampire movie without any bite is like removing guns from a Western.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 12 & under

Teen vampire flick is scarier, edgier than the book series.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that amped-up violence and language make The Vampire's Assistant movie too mature for younger tween fans of the Cirque du Freak books it's based on. There are several disturbing scenes of vampires stabbing, punching, kicking, and otherwise wiping the floor with each other (although none of it gets particularly gory), along with potentially disturbing images of circus "freaks" and fairly regular use of words like "s--t," "a--hole," and the like. Although the sexuality is on the mild side (especially for a vampire tale), there are a few kisses and a brief glimpse of the protagonist about to suck blood from a willing love interest.

  • Families can talk about how this vampire thriller differs from other vampire-themed movies and shows. How are the vampires depicted? Why are vampires so popular?
  • Why do you think the movie amped up the level of language and violence compared to the books? Can you think of other movies that are "heavier" than the books they're based on?
  • How are Darren and Steve examples of "foils"? What kind of person do they each represent? Kids: Name other famous literary foils (here's one to start you off: Twilight's Edward and Jacob).

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: Kids can learn about self-awareness, sacrifice, and courage through Darren transformation's from regular teenager to half vampire. Crepsley, despite being centuries-old and curmudgeonly, demonstrates the importance of not being completely self absorbed. Together, and with the help of the circus folk, they triumph over a looming threat.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Darren is willing to sacrifice his life in order to save his best friend's, and he refuses to drink blood from anyone, even people who've been sedated, until Rebecca freely offers him some of hers. He's sweet, open-minded, and brave, and he doesn't fight unless it's for self-defense. On the other hand, his foil/best friend is the exact opposite -- Steve is selfish, sullen, and volatile, not to mention violent.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Although many of the fight scenes are slightly comic, there's plenty of violence, including stabbings with knives and swords, fistfights, kicking/stomping, slashings with vampire nails, and the protagonist having his neck broken for the sake of faking his death. Most of it isn't gory or bloody (surprising for a vampire movie!), but it's still fairly dark. There are also possibly disturbing scenes of the titular "freaks" (a girl with a monkey tail, a boy who's green/scaly like a snake, a man with two bellies, a woman who can rip off her limbs and regenerate them, a man with no skin covering his lower abdomen/ribs, a Bearded Lady, and more.). And those who are afraid of spiders will have several "look away" moments.

  • sex false2

    Sex: A couple of embraces and kisses between Crepsley and Madame Truska (as well as a joke about her beard growing out as a sign of arousal) and Alexander and Jane. Chaste flirting between Darren and Rebecca and a lips-only kiss (which does make her monkey tail stand on end...).

  • language false3

    Language: Several uses of the word "s--t" and its cousins "bulls--t" and "holy s--t/crap," as well as a few utterances of "a--hole," "ass," "hell," "dick," "oh my God," and milder insults like "jerk," "wimp," "stupid," and "idiot."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults and vampires drink socially on a couple of occasions.

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