Review: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant Blu-ray

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Paul Weitz | CAST: John C. Reilly, Chris Massoglia, Josh Hutcherson
RELEASE DATE: 2/23/2010 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $36.98
BONUSES: picture-in-picture, deleted scenes, featurette, Tour of Cirque, BD Live
SPECS: PG-13 | 109 min. | Fantasy | 2:35:1 | DTS-HD , Dolby 2.0 | English, French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Cirque de Freak: The Vampire's Assistant movie scene with John C. Reilly and Chris MassogliaThe colors of director Paul Weitz’s (Little Fockers) freak show is what stand out most in this Blu-ray version of Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant. The blue and red of the dangerous Octa spider shimmer gloriously in high-definition, and the colorful tents of the cirque itself are bright and inviting.

Based on the series of books by Darren Shan (the same name as the novels’ protagonist, but a pen name of real author Darren O’Shaugnessy), the movie tells the story of a couple of boys who go to a freak show and get caught up in a world of vampires, prophecies and good vs. evil.

Weitz does a good job of building the creepy world of the cirque, with its bearded lady (Salma Hayek, Grown Ups), snake boy (Patrick Fugit, Almost Famous) and man with no stomach (Orlando Jones, Evolution). Reilly’s a little out of his element as an elegant-talking vampire, but it’s the special effects and creepy chills that kids will love.

In the Blu-ray’s special features package, Universal included a pile of deleted scenes; an interesting three-part behind-the-scenes featurette called “Guide to Becoming a Vampire,” which also looks at the inspiration of the movies; and the fun “Tour of the Cirque,” in which fans can get an inside look of each of the cirque characters and their living quarters. Also included is a picture-in-picture track that pops up interview snippets with the likes of Weitz, Reilly and others while the movie plays.

Universal also has included its Pocket Blu technology, which allows owners to interact with the Blu-ray with their iPhone or iPod Touch, and Social Blu, which allows owners to update their Facebook and Twitter accounts while they watch the movie.


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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.