Sunday, November 1, 2009
Cirque de Freaks
The Vampire's Assistant (2009)
The other night the missus and I had an unexpected 'free' evening, so we went to see a movie. The Vampire's Assistant happened to win the coin toss, and it turns out that was a good result. I am not familiar with the series of books this is based off of, but I'm a little curious now that I've seen the movie. Overall? It was not too shabby at all.
I'm not a vampire-phile, I haven't read the Twilight books, and I couldn't tell you much about the latest pop culture trend. Fortunately, this movie, despite its title, didn't seem to be a vamp movie just for the sake of cashing in. Actually, although a vampire heads up the lead, it not very vampcentric at all. Being a "circus of freaks" there's a ton of wild and wooly characters with nary a bloodsucker among them.
The special effects were very nice, especially in crafting the freaks, and the tone of the movie had enough gloom and doom, sprinkled with some campiness and dare I say, realism. It's not as funny or tongue-in-cheek as you may think from watching the trailer, although it does have several funny moments. At its core is a tale of rival clans of vampires on the verge of a war over their ideologies. Caught in the middle is the freak circus, which the lead vampire of one faction (John C. Reilly) calls home (along with the incredibly attractive bearded lady played by Salma Hayek). The title character, the Vampire's Assistant, is taken on by the Reilly's character and indoctrinated into this new and strange world. The assistant's former best friend, another high school teen is lured to the "dark side" by a dubious character, and as prophesied, the two friends would begin the new war of vampires against one another.
Since this is a series of books, it's a natural that this will be a series of movies, and this first one sets up a sequel well. The first movie is really an origin story and sets up the plot and players for what looks like many flicks to come. This was a fun film with lots of character and just enough gloom. It had a surprisingly strong cast of characters, all of whom played their roles without overshadowing the big picture. It's not the 'greatest vampire movie' ever, but it is a fun film that offers a solid story and an interesting world.