Box art for Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

action & adventure, children & family, sci-fi & fantasy

Drawn to the magical world of the Cirque, a 16-year-old boy trades in his ordinary life to become an immortal vampire in this amazing adventure co-starring John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 12
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

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.

what families can talk about

  • 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).

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Tests its viewers' patience even as it strives to build their loyalty.

- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Friday, October 23, 2009

Rotten: Harry Potter needn't call time out on his Quidditch game, and Edward Cullen can stick to his beauty rest.

- Adam Graham, Detroit News, Friday, October 23, 2009

Fresh: Mixing horror and comedy while minimizing the gore, writer-director Paul Weitz serves up a witty adventure fantasy with a tasty dollop of schadenfreude.

- Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, Friday, October 23, 2009

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Did not hold my attention. No real shock there - me and my great love of kids movies. In all fairness, has a decent cast, and I did at least get more than halfway through it before becoming brain numbingly bored. I suppose it is okay for a kid's movie, and if you like them, you may even enjoy this. But personally, didn't do a lot for me. Anything with a stupid CG spider running around is not exactly thrilling viewing. As for those claiming it is better than Twilight... as if.

- romy861, Saturday, November 13, 2010

3 stars

This wasn't a great movie but I had fun. B

- bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb1, Saturday, November 27, 2010

2 stars

It's hard to know what to make of this movie. The story moves forward, sure, but it seems to spend too much time showing you things that aren't important. Yup, here are all the freaks, each unique and laid out end-to-end. Why aren't we seeing what the main character's friend is doing all this time, if he's such a vital character to the grand scheme of things in the supernatural world? It sure as hell would have made the end make more sense.I get the feeling that everything would come together when you watch this and its inevitable sequals all together, but until those movies come out, this saga is going to feel incomplete. Granted, all the characters in the circus are cool looking and fairly engaging (I especially liked the snake boy, who's really laid back and takes to calamity rather casually), but I get the feeling that this film focus entirely on the wrong ones. Not enough time is devoted to the villains and thier motivations, and it really didn't matter to me who won in the end. But an aside: guys, do you really expect me to believe that in a fight between Dewey Cox and The Punisher, that The Punisher would lose? Cam-aaaaahn! Another thing that struck me was how dark this is for a children's film. It's full of swearing and flippant violence, and the two main characters' families get thrown away just a little too easily. I look forward to seeing this story get fleshed out and completed, but I resent being made to wait for that to happen. You're supposed to get it all done in a single film.

- MidnightMadwoman, Wednesday, July 14, 2010