The Vampire’s Assistant Review
Directed by Paul Weitz
The Vampire’s Assistant tells the story of Darren Shan, a normal teenage boy, who does everything that his parents tell him to do.
However, Darren is about to become a vampire’s assistant after visiting a freak show that has come to town.
Darren and his best friend Steve go to Cirque du Freak where they see strange acts, including a wolf man, a bearded lady, and a disguised vampire with a hauntingly beautiful spider by the name of Madam Octa.
Based off The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan, The Vampire’s Assistant combines events and elements from the first three books in the saga.
The Vampire’s Assistant was too much, too many, and not enough. It felt rushed at times, too much happening in a short period of time during the film. There were so many interesting characters that were never given enough time on screen. And Darren Shaw was a flat hero during important key points during this film.
After finding out that the film, The Vampire’s Assistant, consisted of events and elements from three books in a series, it is understandable that I felt overwhelmed and underwhelmed by this film adaptation.
It is possible that the film would not have been as thrilling or as adventurous if it only adapted the first book in The Saga of Darren Shan, but it seemed that this film pushed through the events of this book series too quickly.
I do not have a deep-rooted hatred toward book to film adaptations; my thoughts and feelings toward them depends on the adaptations individually. But The Vampire’s Assistant did not do it for me, especially when so many interesting characters were given minimal screen time.
The bearded lady, the reptile boy, the regenerating woman, the monkey girl, the man with two stomachs are only a few of the freaks of the Cirque.
The film is The Vampire’s Assistant, which means that it is about Darren Shan, but these other characters were so much more interesting to me than the goody-two shoes Darren and his high school woes.
Darren seemed to fall flat for me, his evil best friend Steve definitely overshadowed him when they were on screen together. Steve even made me root for a spider’s survival when he was chasing after Madam Octa with a broom, and I get the serious heebeejeebees when it comes to those eight-legged arachnids.
However, I was enchanted by the opening credit sequence for The Vampire’s Assistant. It set a mood for the film with its freaks and the all-encompassing destiny of the two best friends: Darren and Steve.
Even though The Vampire’s Assistant did not meet my expectations, I am quite intrigued by the book series that inspired this film adaptation. A different version of vampires that do not kill to survive, they show no sign of sparkling and they sleep in coffins, which is definitely a plus.