The Little Vampire (U)



Drama (2017)
82mins Neth/Ger/Den/UK

Starring: Amy Saville, Rasmus Hardiker, Jim Carter
Director: Karsten Kiilerich, Richard Claus
Writer(s): Richard Claus
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Teen vampire Rudolph Sackville-Bagg celebrates his birthday in the company of his family. The festivities are interrupted by monster hunter Rookery and his young apprentice Maney. They trap the vampires in the catacombs but Rudolph and most of his clan escape. Rookery and Maney give chase using an Infradead Hunting System. Rudolph separates from the group and seeks refuge in a guesthouse, where he meets 13-year-old vampire fanatic Tony Thompson.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Little Vampire (U)

Richard Claus and Karsten Kiilerich's computer-animated adaptation of the children's book series penned by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg doesn't quite hammer a stake through the heart of beloved source material... but it comes close. Bolted together with outlandish action sequences and a sense of humour unabashedly aimed at younger audiences, The Little Vampire desiccates a familiar yarn of friendship and acceptance between two boys - one mortal, the other fanged...

The Little Vampire. Copyright: Signature Entertainment. Caption: Rudolph Sackville-Bagg (voiced by Rasmus Hardiker) and Tony Thompson (Amy Saville) in The Little Vampire. All Rights Reserved.The ramshackle script recycles erotically charged dialogue from the 1944 Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not, when a vampire girl coos, "You know how to whistle don't you? You just put your lips together... and blow!" That reference will sail over the heads of children, who will be more interested in an udderly ridiculous vampiric cow, which offers dubious comic relief by dive-bombing the film's pitiful arch-villain with fresh dung from its backside. Logic crash-lands every time the film ricochets between two key locations, Transylvania and the Black Forest in Germany, which are separated by more than 1,500km of rugged European landscape but can apparently be covered by an all-terrain vehicle in a few minutes.

Vampire covens flock to Transylvanian catacombs to celebrate the coming of age of reluctant birthday boy, Rudolph Sackville-Bagg (voiced by Rasmus Hardiker). "I'll be 13... for the 300th time!" he despairs to his father Frederick (Tim Pigott-Smith), mother Freda (Alice Krige), older brother Gregory (Hardiker again) and sister Anna (Phoebe Givron-Taylor). The festivities are interrupted by hunter of the undead, Rookery (Jim Carter), and his young apprentice Maney (Joseph Kloska). They trap the vampires in the catacombs but Rudolph and most of his clan escape. Rookery and Maney give chase using the protegee's cunning Infradead Hunting System and UV lights, which scorch the terrified bloodsuckers in the night sky. Rudolph separates from the group and seeks refuge in a guesthouse in the Black Forest, where he meets 13-year-old vampire fanatic Tony Thompson (Amy Saville), who is on a "creepy castle tour" with his parents (Kevin Otto, Julia Rhodes). The mortal charms Rudolph and becomes a trusted ally in the battle against Rookery. However, Rudolph's father forbids this close bond because it flouts the laws of nature. "You can be many things to my son: a snack, breakfast, even dinner," Frederick hisses at Tony, "but you can never be his friend."

The Little Vampire is drained of energy and big laughs, and the quality of the animation is poor. Regional stereotypes are perpetuated with glee - Matthew Marsh and Miriam Margolyes adopt exaggerated German accents as guesthouse owners, who might have stumbled out of the 1980s sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!. Core messages of tolerance and cooperation are draped over every frame like bouquets of garlic to ward off evil spirits. Fangs for nothing.

- Sam Cannon

The Little Vampire. Copyright: Signature Entertainment. Caption: Rudolph Sackville-Bagg (voiced by Rasmus Hardiker) and Tony Thompson (Amy Saville) in The Little Vampire. All Rights Reserved.


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