The Vampire's Assistant is a "mostly entertaining horror comedy," said Alonso Duralde in Based on the first three books of author Darren Shan's 12-part Cirque du Freak series, it tells the story of a young man (Chris Massoglia) apprenticed to a vampire/freak-show-entertainer played by John C. Reilly. Blending a "sardonic sense of humor" with a "healthy dose of things that go bump in the night," The Vampire's Assistant (watch the trailer) is a "clever and stylish hybrid" of "creepiness and comedy."

This film is "enjoyable" and certainly "worth a watch," said Lara Martin on Digital Spy. But the attempt to "cram three books into one movie" may be "confusing" to viewers unfamiliar with Shan's series, and director Paul Weitz leaves many questions unanswered in anticipation of a string of sequels. However, it "remains to be seen" if The Vampire's Assistant "warrants a long-term franchise."

Not if this first movie is any indication, said Rene Rodriguez in The Miami Herald. It's so desperately trying to be a "franchise launcher" to rival Harry Potter or Twilight, but it's been "tinkered with" and "tweaked" to such a degree that it "borders on the incomprehensible." The Vampire's Assistant is a "textbook example of how trying to please everyone ends up pleasing no one."

Also opening this week: Amelia, Antichrist, Astro Boy