MOVIE REVIEW: Casting keeps ‘Vampire’s Assistant’ afloat

TUPELO – There’s always going to be a place for a movie that’s not too bad.
If you haven’t seen “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” at the theater by now, you probably won’t catch it until it shows up on TV.
If you watch it all the way through, you’ll likely decide there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.
Steve (Josh Hutcherson) and Darren (Chris Massoglia) are teenage friends who decide to sneak out late to see a freak show.
Steve’s fascinated by vampires, and Darren has a thing for spiders, so you may not be surprised to learn that one of the performers is a vampire with a cool spider.
One thing leads to another, and Darren becomes a vampire, while Steve gets turned into the vampires’ mortal enemy. Conflict ensues.
And that would be that, except for some interesting casting. Teenage girls may enjoy watching Hutcherson and Massoglia, but the other cast members give “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” whatever life it has.
John C. Reilly brings a subtle, darkly comic approach to the vampire, Larten Crepsley. I had fun just watching Reilly play with this character.
Willem Dafoe packs a punch as Gavner, even though he doesn’t get much screen time. Salma Hayek, Ken Watanabe, Orlando Jones and Jane Krakowski all bring their considerable skills to play freaks in the show.
That’s quality talent, and it elevates “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” from bad status to surprisingly enjoyable if you don’t expect too much.
I give “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” a C plus.
It’s showing at the Cinemark in Tupelo, as well as Malcos in Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, and Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.

Wizard review
Kelli Karlson with Wizard 106.7 gives “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” a D.
“This was not my kind of movie. I definitely won’t see this with anybody again.”

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal