Aiming to do for Brit-author Darren Shan what Twilight did for Stephenie Meyer, this lavish but uneven franchise hopeful condenses the first three books in Shan’s 12-part saga.
The ball starts rolling when straight-A student Darren (Chris Massoglia) gives up his (mortal) life to save bad-boy best friend Steve ( Josh Hutcherson), who’s been bitten by highly venomous spider Madame Octa.
Freshly undead, Darren joins travelling sideshow Cirque Du Freak, becoming both assistant to vampire Crepsley (John C Reilly) and a player in the struggle against nastier neck-nippers the Vampaneze.
Reilly’s terrific as the bloodsucker who’s lost his zest for death, and there’s further quality from supporting freaks Ken Watanabe, Willem Dafoe and bearded lady Salma Hayek.
Alas, most of the above are reduced to bit parts, leaving Paul Weitz’s film reliant on the limited ability of Massoglia. The new RPattz? We’ll stick with the old one…
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