Hollywood is committed to adapting tween lit involving wizards or vampires, regardless of quality, popularity or even sanity. Based on the allegedly popular Cirque du Freak books, which no one older than 16 has ever heard of, Vampire's Assistant serves as sort of anti-Twilight, more concerned with the pure wish-fulfillment kicks of supernatural powers than the romance of forbidden and eternal love. Aimed at young guys, the film dabbles in satire and gross-out creepiness, really wants to be an action thrill-ride, yet plays like a bad sketch in the last half hour of SNL.
It's almost impossible not to giggle at John C. Reilly, with his bulbous clown nose, crazy rat's nest of candy-apple locks, flitting about in a floor-length duster attempting undead chic. Reilly is a 200-year-old bloodsucker named Larten Crepsley, who, along with his trained fluorescent tarantula, stars in a traveling freak show that also includes Ken Watanabe as Mr. Tall, Jane Krakowski as a gal who can detach her limbs, and Salma Hayek as the requisite bearded lady.
This geek parade gets crashed by preppy teen Darren, who's goaded by his bad boy friend into sneaking backstage and ends up becoming a "half vampire" with cool new vamp abilities, which he mainly uses to run Crepsley's errands. Darren finds his new macabre half-life pretty cool, even if the only datable babe around has a monkey tail. More bloodthirsty ghouls turn up, and things get even sillier.
It's fun at first; Reilly's a hoot; so's Willem Dafoe in a goofy Vincent Price mustache. If the movie were a proper spoof, it'd work, but its scares and thrills produce giggles and groans. If only the lead actor, Chris Massoglia, weren't so dreadful: This kid couldn't act dead in a morgue. Vampire's Assistant cost a pretty penny too; director Paul Weitz had the keys to Hollywood handed to him after American Pie, but one more turd like this and they'll change the locks.
Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.