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I enjoy a good family Halloween flick. Films like this can be a whole lot of fun if they’re made correctly. In order for a film of this kind to work there must be top notch set design, engaging characters, and of course a decent script. The Little Vampire certainly succeeds when it comes to set design and atmosphere as both are expertly handled, for sure. The cast does an overall decent job too, especially the child actors. The script is what unfortunately needed some more work. There’s an uneven nature to the layout of the story and the comedy they try to work in falls flat. Let’s do a deep dive into the details.
I really love the look of the vampires resting place. They succeeded in making it look classically spooky and that helps The Little Vampire a lot. The costumes the vampires wear are delightfully over the top and have a genuine old school vampire look to them, especially the mother’s. And while everyone’s hair and makeup is on point, the mothers hairstyle is just perfect… exactly what a female vampires hair should look like. I like that they really camped it up with the aesthetics, I mean it is a family vampire film… go campy and revel in it!
As far as the cast is concerned, everyone does a pretty good job with what they’re given, especially Richard Grant and Alice Krige who plays the vampire parents and deliver scenery chewing fun performances. Rollo Weeks and Jonathan Lipnicki star as the two main kids the story centers around and I was impressed by their likability. I’m always impressed by child actors who are able to give a convincing performance at such a young age.
Pamela Gidley and Tommy Hinkley play the parents of Tony, Lipnicki’s character, and they do a lovely job. They both come across as very likable. As for the villain who’s played by Jim Carter, he also chews lots of scenery and camps up the screen, which works for this type of film. While the cast does a good job, I do wish the writers had given them a more well rounded script to work with. The script doesn’t do a very good job with story layout unfortunately; unevenness is something I really don’t like in films and this film suffers from that. There’s very little foundation and they really hit the ground running which feels kind of awkward.
As The Little Vampire goes on and we get into the meat of the story, the script attempts to be funny but none of the gags ever land. All of the gags are pretty lazy and several of them drag on too long. There’s one running gag that involves cows and I really wish they’d reconsidered that because it felt too hokey and odd. I don’t have any qualms with some silly child like humor but I do have qualms with lazy humor that just isn’t funny.
I also felt that while the characters were pretty likable and charming at times, the script didn’t do enough to forge strong connections between them. I would’ve enjoyed stronger bonds between these characters, it would’ve made for an overall stronger film. In family films in particular, this is extra important and not enough time was spent on it. I would’ve appreciated more focus on these characters getting to know one another and less focus on lame gags such as the vampire cows. Seriously… the vampire cows were a bad idea.
The Little Vampire isn’t a bad film and it’s not a great one either, it’s so-so. It boasts quality visuals and a good cast but the script was in need of some work.
A little bit of Fargo mixed with Stephen King
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