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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 14 December 2009
Growing up, i absolutely adored Darren Shan's vampire saga. One of the best pieces of modern children's literature out there, they are a classic example of teen fiction done well. They blended the real with the fantastical perfectly, Darren's character evolving through the progressively darker and more mysterious books. They were perfection.

So when i heard there was a film of the books being released, i was overjoyed. But upon watching it, i was left disappointed. Now, The Vampire's Assistant is by no means a bad film, in fact it's a pretty good one - hence the 3 stars. But it strips away everything that's amazing about the books and leaves it by the wayside. The plot is only vaguely based on the books, rather than being a direct translation, it instead draws elements from the first three novels and stitches them together into a new story - the result being something rather rushed and unfulfilling.

The characters are not how i imagined either, gone are the dark overtones and rich sense of persona - replaced by cheesy caricatures. It's not all bad though, John C. Reilly is magnificent as Larten Crepsley - he's probably the best thing in the film, full stop, in fact. The rivalry between Darren and Steve is done nicely too. Ray Stevenson also puts in a good part as Murlough.

The film as a whole is decent enough. It's shot well and the lighting and sets all look good. Watch it without any prior knowledge of the books and it's a great teen action film - but unfortunately, for those that have read Darren Shan's epic vampire saga, like so many Hollywood adaptations of books, this falls way short of the mark.
Still worth a watch though!
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VINE VOICEon 26 November 2011
I can't help but notice that most of the negative reviews of this movie are squealing 'WAAA it's not like the books!' and not even mentioning why that's supposed to be a bad thing. Seriously. Where's the fun in translating one media identically into the other, with no changes? That's the joy of adapting a book series into a movie; so that two very different takes on the same idea can exist. Harry Potter, just as an example - do the movies differ from the books? Yes! Are there moments from each which are notably absent from the the other, such as the SPEW campaign, and Hermione's touching dance with Harry? Yes! Do we love both as a result, as they each offer us a new depth to Rowling's incredible world? Of course we do!

Ranting aside, this movie was spectacular. I didn't have high hopes; let's just say the infamous T word has put me off young adult vampire fiction probably for ever. But there are (mercifully) no sparkles here; no emo angsting or absurd romances between bland, whiny characters who you wish would just snog and end our misery. Instead we have a fairly nice, normal young chap - hero Darren Shan - drawn into a horrible, dark, twisted world, and his edging-toward-psychotic best friend sucked in too...unfortunately ending up on the opposing sides. Josh Hutcherson, playing the soon-to-be-evil friend desperate to become immortal just to escape his unhappy home life, steals the show; his spotlight only diminishes whenever John C Reilly stalks onto the screen as the affably evil Crepsley. Amazing actor, amazingly sinister character.

Plenty of action, a suprising amount of believable pathos (including hero Darren's understated, awkward yet frankly adorable burgeoning crush for a monkey-tailed girl), and snarkily scripted black humour; I loved this movie, and I'll be so sad if they don't make a sequel. Highly recommended if you've lost faith in the dime-a-dozen teen vampire stories, love Tim Burton-esque wierdness, and want a bit of bite put back in your undead.
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on 3 February 2010
Been a fan of the books of the darren shan vampire saga, i thought it would be brilliant if a film were to be made based on the books. How wrong I was.

This film is weak, the storyling is only vaguely related to the books, like the war between the vampires and the vampaneze, its good to have that still in there, but seriously, they have made a hash of everything else. It is nowhere near as dark as it should be, two of the characters are missing (if you have read the books you will notice which two) and it just didn't flow like it should have done. It was like someone had taken parts of the three books, cut them out, stuck them together, and shoved it on a film reel.

The only good things about this film was the brilliant acting by John C. Reilly as Larten Crepsley, he captured the character excellently, making him the sarcastic, quick tempered father figure we all loved in the book. The other good thing about this film was the end credits, showing that the film had come to an end, the fight between Darren and Steve at the end was not even worth the money I paid to see it in the cinema, and the storyline was just so sucky, a vampire wouldn't give it a second bite.

If you haven't read the books and have no idea whats going on, then it is a good film to watch, but for us seasoned readers and fans of Mr Shan, I think i speak for us all when I say that this film could have been miles better, and kept to the books just that little bit more.
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on 22 August 2010
Worst... Casting... Ever...

The script is pretty flaky, seemingly only loosely based on a synopsis of the original books, however this is vastly overshadowed by the diabolical casting and hairdressing! Darren Shan is played by an odd looking kid with some weird 1970's haircut, Crepsley is portrayed as a baggy faced, Ronald McDonald-haired nerd with a strangely high-pitched voice, and apparently they couldn't find a fat actor to play the tubby bad dude so put some 'ham' into a fat-suit?

This is a difficult review to write, the temptation to simply say "don't bother, it's rubbish" is too strong, a film this bad doesn't really warrant the effort to review :/

If you've never read the books, please please please don't judge them based on this awful film! The vampire series by Darren Shan has been treated pretty badly, only the first three being released as audio books, and then this joke of a film. I just hope that the same crew aren't allowed to massacre any other books, especially not the Demonata series...
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on 14 June 2016
The mediocre rating does not signify any damage or fault on behalf of the seller. It simply due to the actual movie. It's good, but I'd recommend it to the 11-14 year old audience only. I remembered absolutely loving the book series when I was younger but had never actually seen the film, so I decided to get it and see if it fit with the books. It however, did not. The film isn't that great and if you've read the books, you'll notice a lot of faults. Other than that, it was a little boring. So personally, I would not recommend.
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on 8 January 2015
Really enjoyed this film adaptation of Darren Shans Cirque Du Freak books.

I had purchased the first book for my daughter and she enjoyed it so much that she told me to read it. She wasn't wrong I enjoyed it too.
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on 14 November 2014
Love this film as its not predictable. Storyline weaves through beautifully with many twists & turns. Highlights human emotions & where our choices can take us. If you like thought provoking movies with humour on the wild side then this is for you.
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on 8 November 2009
This action packed film has twists and turns but is a little bit different from the actual Cirque du Freak book. I went to the cinema not knowing what it was about and have not reading the book, I was not disapointed at the end as it has lots of action, magic, betrail, secret and lies. I would definatly recomend this film to teenagers.
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on 8 April 2016
This is an adaptation of the first novel from the popular Darren Shan novels - Cirque Du Freaque. Whilst this is an enjoyable horror comedy, with many key elements of the book, it differs in tone from the novels. Mainly this is a result of the miscasting of John C Reilly as the wise and ancient vampire Crepsley - a role of that might have been better filled by someone like Max Von Sydow. However, if you have never read the books, I am sure you would enjoy this goth-com. Look out for the ever excellent Ray Stevenson as Murlagh.
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on 14 March 2011
I rate this film 2 stars, having seen it in the cinema. I cannot decide whether this is too harsh or not harsh enough.

For a start, the actual film isn't terrible, it's enough to hold some interest I guess. As a huge fan of the books, naturally I was disappointed since it was only loosely based on the books, and the casting was poor enough to ruin my perception of the characters masterfully created in the books. Reilly was an awful choice for Mr Crepsley in my opinion since he is usually starring in films is a complete idiot so the whole dark side to him is lost. I think whilst it is impossible to completely recreate everything in the books, the fact they made up a new key character and made her Darren's love interest was just annoyingly painful for hardcore Darren Shan fans. The film is also too comical and also not dark enough for the fans of the books.

I did not give this film one star because it was not a complete disaster, as I said the film is enjoyable enough at points. Some younger children will find this an enjoyable film. However my main bone to pick with this film is that it just seems like it has no proper target audience. As far as I know, in the UK this film is rated a 12. The problem here is that the film would be more appealing to younger children, yet they cannot access it since it has a 12 rating, yet the film is not sinister or unnerving enough to satisfy any teen audiences above 12. As a result, the film is incredibly hit or miss with audiences. Yet most likely a miss, since young children who should be enjoying it are restricted from viewing it, teenagers will find it too childish, and die-hard Darren Shan fans will be disappointed by the deviation from the plot. In fact, as I write this conclusion, I think I answered my original question of "is 2 stars not harsh enough?" I think I was being too kind now.
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