The Little Vampire
Derived from Angela Sommer-Bodenburg’s 1979 book for children Der Kleine Vampir, Richard Claus and Karsten Kiilerich’s animated movie The Little Vampire is a feel-good story about creatures of the night – here sympathetic survivors who are merely different rather than the frightening monsters of classic horror.
Evocative animation appears in the opening scene with a sweeping vista of a gorgeous landscape and flying figures. The impression evoked is that the film will be fun. Fast paced with flamboyant gestures, extensive detail and interesting characters, the piece is geared to older children but is entertaining for all ages.
Rudolph Sackville-Bagg (Rasmus Hardiker) is a young vampire who is bored and seeks new adventures – not surprising considering he has been 13 for 300 years and his mother (Alice Krige) is preparing yet another birthday party for him. Tony Thompson (Amy Saville) is a 13-year-old human boy and vampire enthusiast from San Diego on a European holiday with his parents Dottie (Julia Rhodes) and Bob (Kevin Otto). While staying at a foreboding German “bed-and-breakfast” castle – hosted by a heavily caricatured portly Teutonic couple (Miriam Margolyes, Matthew Marsh) who suspect everyone of being blood-lusting night creatures – Tony meets Rudolph, the two become friends and they team up to help save the latter’s family and clan from stake-wielding assassins.
Rookery (Jim Carter) the vampire hunter – with his yellow teeth, seething malice and evil eye – is far more sinister than the cute flying undead who never attack humans. Rookery’s awkward assistant Maney (Joseph Kloska) is somewhat reluctant and forced by his bullying boss to go along. The motley personas also include an amusingly doddering elderly vampire and his wife (Graham Clarke, Diane Wilson). The sudden appearance of a fetching airborne fanged cow – a previous offering to a hungry Rudolph by Tony – is a highlight of the film.
The illustrations are rich and the styling of the figures, with their large eyes and exaggerated features, seems to be highly influenced by Japanese anime. While there are funny moments, the design and sound are appealing and the characters are interesting and endearing, there are a number of lulls here and there that slightly dampen attention and focus.
However, as a whole, The Little Vampire is entertaining and fun. Containing a strong message about tolerance of differences, mutual understanding, cooperation and friendship, the movie is positive and uplifting.
The Little Vampire is released nationwide on 25th May 2018.
Watch the trailer for The Little Vampire here: