The Little Vampire (2000) – Uli Edel

Even family films get into the vampire act as I learn with the next stop in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies, the coffee table tome by legendary director John Landis. That film is The Little Vampire, based on the book by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg.

Starring Jonathan Lipnicki, following his endearing turn in Jerry Maguire, the film follows a lonely young American boy, Tony (Lipnicki) and his family as they settle in their new home in Scotland.

Tony is haunted by dreams filled with vampires led by Frederick (Richard E. Grant) and his wife, Freda (Alice Krige), a comet, a full moon, and a vampire killer, Rookery (Jim Carter). Among the vampires is Rudloph (Rollo Weeks), Frederick’s son.

When the young pair meet, an unlikely friendship is formed as the film gives a fun, if slightly off-balanced look at vampire lore (including feeding off of cows instead of humans – they want to become human). Tony soon finds himself thrust into an adventure he never knew could happen as he learns about a way to save his new friend and the rest of the vampires by helping discover a long lost relic.

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That is if Rookery doesn’t stop them all first.

Lipnicki is fun and charming, and the film wanders from cute to silly, but it’s unstaked heart is in the right place. It’s a delightful little film that may set just the right tone for younger viewers who want to get into vampire films but may not be able to handle some of the bloodier and more violent incarnations of the creatures.

There is lots of humor, a little eternal love story featuring Rudolph’s sister, Anna (Anna Popplewell) and dealing with bullies.

The film goes more for laughs than scares, but the British actors take their roles seriously and bring a gravitas to their performances, which definitely elevates the material. But you can’t take things too seriously when you are introduced to vampire cows.

This film gave me a small respite from the truly violent and bloody vampire films that have been filling the blog lately, and let’s me take a quick breather before sinking my fangs into the next one.

So if you’re young one is ready for a monster movie, but may not be able to handle the traditional subject matter, The Little Vampire may best serve, but if you pick up a copy of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies, I’m sure you’ll find more bloody fare to suit.

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