John C. Reilly does not make a pretty vampire–not that all vampires have to be pretty. With the popularity of stories portraying vampires as beautiful human-hunting beasties (Twilight saga, The Vampire Diaries, The Vampire Chronicles, just to name a few) it was refreshing to see the vampers of Cirque Du Freak. They looked like slightly dead humans, and the makeup needed was to make them look dirty and grungy, as opposed to porcelain or… sparkly.
I haven’t read the books, though I might try now. The movie itself was okay and from what I’ve heard on the internet and from other people the story combines things from the first few books. I can’t tell you it’s a masterpiece, but I can honestly say that it was entertaining and held my attention for the entire time it played, about an hour and 45 minutes. It had a few good laughs, too.
Two best friends, Darren (Chris Massoglia) and Steve (Josh Hutcherson), seemingly normal kids, end up having a supernatural destiny. Events lead up to both of them becoming vampires, Darren being good and Steve being evil, or at least more easily led to the evil side. The vampires have split into two groups, the Vampaneze and the Vampires, and rumors of war are forming. Vampaneze kill humans for blood, Vampire’s don’t.
The actual Cirque Du Freak consists of Mr. Tall (Ken Watanabe), the very tall leader of the circus, a mangy wolfman, a woman who can regrow her limbs after they’ve been torn off (Jane Krakowski), a man with two stomachs (Frankie Faison), a man with no lower stomach (Orlando Jones) that reminded me of Raziel with a bottom jaw, a lady with a big set of chompers (Kristen Schaal), the bearded lady/psychic (Salma Hayek), and the snake boy (Patrick Fugit) who wants to play music, not be in the circus. There are others at the Cirque camp, like the tiny Golam-looking midgets and Darren’s very normal looking love interest. Larten Crepsley (Reilly) is the orange-haired vampire that performs with the circus and blackmails Darren into becoming his “vampire assistant.”
In the final fight, the war between the Vampires and Vampaneze is officially started, and it’s all because of Desmond Tiny (Michael Cerveris), a… well, I’m not sure what he really is. Crepsley and the other Vampires hate him. The Vampaneze wanted the war, however, and Tiny gave them the means to start it.
I loved the scenes with Crepsley. Then there was the Freaks. Salma with a beard? Still beautiful, albeit slightly creepy. It was nice to see Jane Krakowski as the wolfman bait instead of being the actual wolf. (Do you watch 30 Rock? If not, you should.) The camp itself was amazing, the set designers should be proud.
Will there be more movies for this series? I won’t be disappointed if there isn’t and I’ll see the others if there is. Crepsley, with his crazy orange hair and scarred up face, is a character I’ll willingly watch over and over. The Vampire’s Assistant will be a good rental when it comes out. It’s not a must-see in the theater, but it’s not the worst thing you can see either… (Saw VI? Pfft.)