“Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” is a cheesy, lifeless by-product of the “Twilight”-inspired vampire craze.

‘Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant’

At Quality 16 and Showcase

The film starts out as a mildly comedic horror film, but gets increasingly annoying as it mixes teen angst with vampires and freaks. The characters are little more than prototypical tween-age cutouts. Darren (Chris Massoglia, “The Hole”) lives a life so perfect it’s hard not to want something really terrible to happen to him. His best friend Steve (Josh Hutcherson, “Winged Creatures”) is the typical suburban bad boy who wears black and throws rocks at windows when he’s in the mood to do something particularly horrible. In a moment of rebellion, Steve convinces Darren to attend a freak show, and somehow Darren ends up stealing a vampire’s deadly “performing spider.” After it bites and poisons Steve, Darren agrees to become a half-vampire to save his friend.

“The Vampire’s Assistant” never gets freaky, which is too bad because the freaks are really the best part of the movie. The Snake Boy (Patrick Fugit, “Horsemen”), the bearded lady (Salma Hayek, “Across the Universe”) and the lady who can regenerate body parts (Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock”) are all wonderfully gross and creepy but their story takes a backseat to the convoluted plotline.

In addition to the central narrative, there are numerous subplots about evil vampires, the relationship between Darren and Steve as well as stories concerning bloodsucker mythology. It’s all just too much to keep track of, and the overstuffed storyline does nothing to cover up for the film’s mode of dull-toothed schlock.

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