Parents' Guide to

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Teen vampire flick is scarier, edgier than the book series.

Movie PG-13 2009 109 minutes
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 8+

Dark and fun

It's a good Halloween movie. My 11 & 8 year old daughters loved it and thought it was funny. It's a little intense if you have sensitive children.
age 12+

YEAH!!!!!!!,I am 12!,And i can that movie!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (39 ):

Director Paul Weitz would have been better off adapting just one book, since the conflation of three novels (even ones in a series) rarely translates well. (Think of the disappointing Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.) Consequently, The Vampire's Assistant drags on for almost an hour before Darren is even made a "half vampire." And by the time he joins the self-proclaimed freaks, the audience isn't able to fully immerse itself into their intriguing culture because the action shifts to the battling vampire groups. There's a ridiculous montage of Darren hanging with his new friends -- flirting with Rebecca the monkey girl, jamming with Evera the snake boy, and eating barbecue with the entire clan. It doesn't help the bland characterizations that Massoglia says everything in an emotionless monotone.

Hutcherson, who was brilliant in Bridge to Terabithia, nails the insecure, impetuous character of Steve and deserves more leading -- not sidekick -- roles. The familiar actors in the supporting cast -- including Hayek, Jake Krakowski, Orlando Jones, and Willem Dafoe -- are frustratingly underused, while Tony-Award-winning actor Cerveris chews up the scenery as a jowly mastermind with a penchant for purple accessories. Reilly is, as expected, laugh-inducing, from his hilariously awful Ronald McDonald hairdo to his many quips about vampire life. Bits and pieces of the movie work fairly well, but as a whole, it feels much longer than it is, and it makes you wish it had been adapted into a TV series instead, where all of the characters could have let their freak flags fly, instead of being reduced to just a few sequences.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: October 23, 2009
  • On DVD or streaming: February 23, 2010
  • Cast: Chris Massoglia , John C. Reilly , Josh Hutcherson , Salma Hayek
  • Director: Paul Weitz
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors, Latino actors, Middle Eastern/North African actors
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 109 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language
  • Last updated: October 3, 2023

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