The Little Vampire (U) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Richard Claus and Karsten Kiilerich, Germany / UK, 2017, 83 mins

Cast: Rasmus Hardiker, Amy Saville, Jim Carter, Joseph Kloska

Review by Michelle Moore

Many moons ago there was a young Jonathan Lipnicki featuring in a live action film about a young boy who meets and aids a vampire from a vampire hunter. Skip forward 18 (!) years and the Angela Sommer-Bodenburg books find another retelling, this time in a cartoon version of the same tale.

The Little Vampire tells the story of Rudolph (Hardiker) a thirteen (for the 300th time) year old vampire who is just like every other teen in the making – not wanting to follow the rules of their parents and has a “I don’t want to” attitude to anything and everything, from going outside when he shouldn’t to putting his birthday clothes onto a statue in the grave yard. On his most recent birthday he is devastated by the capture and separation of some of his family members. When his clan is threatened by the presence of vampire hunters, Rudolph attempts to distract them so his family can escape causing himself to be left out in the sun and seeking refuge in a Transylvanian hotel. It is here he meets a surprising helper – Tony Thompson (Saville), a thirteen year mortal boy from San Diego who is fascinated by the idea that vampires are real. These two must put their differences aside and work together to save the clan.

When it comes to the animation, things are very simplistic with scenery and character appearance being very two dimensional, there is nothing that pops or can be seen as impressive. Characters just tend to float up and down, left and right while even large drops from the top of buildings doesn’t appear as striking as you may have expected.

Characters are not as engaging as one may have hoped, even if this is a movie aimed at youngsters. Their look is very emo compared to what children may have previously seen; very dark, black nails, gothic with studded jackets and spiky dark hair as well as black shadowed eyes – this is particularly noticeable within the character of Gregory with his earing. There are some aspects that are unclear – what exactly do the vampires eat? and why is the light that the vampire holds so powerful in draining vampire energy?

There are some moments of humor such as Tony and Rudolph’s first encounter, Tony being dropped at several high points and Rudolph forgetting he can’t fly, being given a dead rat as a gift and one aspect you will not be able to forget – a floating cow of which Rudolph had fed from; the forgetful elderly vampire is also quite something. There are some funny instances when the vampires don’t quite understand mortal speak – calling vampires cool to a response “what does my temperature have to do with it?”

Unfortunately there are times the movie drags on and you are sat with a feeling of unease. It is as if this is a sequel and you have missed the first installment. The vampire hunter just happens to be in pursuit from the very start and it is as if the vampires have had dealings with this hunter in some unknown past. If you are going into see this movie expecting the likes of Hotel Transylvania you may be disappointed as this is not quite up to those standards. However, for those on the brink of their teens, this may just be up their alley.

The Little Vampire is available exclusively at Vue cinemas nationwide from 25th May, 2018