By Alex Florez
The minute a genre becomes popular, Hollywood does its very best to milk it. To squeeze every last dime out of our pockets. And it will continue to do it as long as there continues to be an audience for it. Let’s take ‘SAW’ as an example. This week, the franchise releases its 6th installment with numbers 7 & 8 already on the way. Let us remember that the first film hit theaters in 2004. Can they crank them out or what?
However, what seems to be all the rage these days are vampires. They’re everywhere: movies, TV shows, books, toys and on Halloween in every costume party in America. To what do we owe this resurgence? Why the public obsession with a corpse supposed, in European folklore, to leave its grave at night drink the blood of the living? I have my own opinions about it but Hollywood could care less so long as we keep opening up our wallets.
For those that haven’t yet had their fill, this week you’ll have the option of seeing Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, but do so at your own risk. The film, based on the popular series of books by Darren Shan, will do little to excite the average viewer.
Here’s the gist: A 16 year-old unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires. Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night, he vanishes from the safety of a boring existence, and puts at risk his relationship with his best friend to fulfill his destiny.
Think of Cirque du Freak as the vampire version of ‘Harry Potter’. Unfortunately, the magic just isn’t there. A supporting cast that includes mexican actress Salma Hayek as ‘the bearded woman’ doesn’t even manage to spice things up. I will say however, that John C. Reilly (Step Brothers, Walk Hard) who plays Crepsely – The vampire who mentors young Darren and shows him how to develop his vampire abilities – shows his acting range and takes on a role we rarely see him in.
Unless you already a diehard fan of the books, I advise to stay away from the film. The characters are dull and uninviting. You will leave the theater without a care in the world and a few dollars poorer.
One final note: Isn’t actor Chris Massoglia the spitting image of a young Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)?
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language.
Release Date: 2009-10-23
Screenplay: Paul Weitz, Brian Helgeland
Official Website: Not available.