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
2 out of 5
Positive role models
1 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

3 stars

Forget the Vampire -- the casting director clearly needs assistance! Dumb and poorly cast, but the film had a strange, Baroque charm that made it mildly entertaining nevertheless. And I can't help feeling that pitting the "vampires" against the "vampanese" (i.e., the violent vamps) was obliquely racist.

- cchclaw, Thursday, April 3, 2014

3 stars

This adventure (not a horror) film is well done based on the novel. And some entertaining story of the freaks in the show that surprised me. John C. Reilly does a really great job acting so is Salma Hayek looks stunning. Sometimes the acting and action scenes were bad. Some of the effects looked fake. And the fact that it all ended with an ordinary rumble was a disappointment. The ending seemed very rushed.

- deano, Sunday, August 8, 2010

2 stars

The first and probably only addition to the Cirque Du Freak's already dead franchise. It failed in the box office which means that the sequel will probably never come. Although the story and plot are very average, I am actually anxious to see the unfinished ending continue. This film waited too long to be good which was a let down, because now I want much more. Sadly, I don't think it's coming. The film is not all that great, but even so, I give it credit for taking on a dark tone as a children's book adaptation. John C. Reilly finally isn't his old stupid self and Josh Hutcherson actually brings a serious role (his first in a while) to the table. Darren Shan was an interesting character for the story, but the movie was all over the place. It is pretty sloppy, but at the same time it was pretty fun to watch. Still, I can't say that I liked it, because it is not a good movie. However, I wish they could find a way to make the sequel, because if you watch this movie you know there is somewhere interesting they can bring the story.

- fb733768972, Saturday, November 6, 2010