(2009)

Meet Darren. He's sixteen going on immortal.

Darren Shan is a regular teenage kid. He and his friend Steve find out about a Freak Show coming to town and work hard at trying to find tickets. They do, and together they go to "Cirque du Freak" where they see many strange acts including a wolf-man and a bearded lady

From watching John C. Reilly over the years, in everything from 'Hoffa' and 'Dolores Claiborne' when he was developing his craft, to 'Step Brothers' and 'Carnage', in which he was one of the leading actors that the film was centered on, I really wanted this film to work for me, though I feel in this recent glut of cinema spawned from Hollywood's post-'Twilight' obsession with vampires, that someone really needs to give this trend a coffin rest, at least for a while so creative fires can have a chance to rekindle--it seems to have been done to death. I'm sure this wasn't what Bram Stoker had in mind with his original 'Dracula'. There's nothing in these recent CGI-bloated messes meaty enough to sink one's teeth into. I'm sure Dr. Alucard himself is cursing the day he was granted immortality, if only to avoid his local multiplex, for this very reason.
Like another recent film I tried to get into, but basically flew off the rails in an enormous video game-like tidal wave of effects I neither wanted nor needed to see ('Your Highness' by David Gordon Green), the filmmakers ill-advisedly thought that the audience had to be captivated by fights and chases galore, but it's like seeing yet another explosion in a Michael Bay movie: Just give me: a) Great presence in an actor, for once, like the Sir Christopher Lees, Sir Peter Cushings, Vincent Prices, Boris Karloffs and Bela Lugosis of yesteryear; b) A story worth telling; and c) A director who knows a thing or two about storytelling--otherwise, I'd rather boycott drinking blood, and simply switch, at least for contemporary film, to a different cup of tea. I'm not surprised whatsoever that this didn't do well at the box office, and that filmmakers decided not to continue with the franchise. Even for vampires, sometimes enough is enough for a lifetime.

Universal Pictures, Relativity Media by Paul Weitz, Brian Helgeland, Darren Shan.
Stars: Chris Massoglia, John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek.

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Keywords: based on novel or book vampire spider wolfman best friend antidote based on young adult novel

10/23/2009

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