Vampires have a rich and storied history dating back to Bram Stoker’s Dracula as that is where most of the vampire mythos that creators pull from most. Vampires in children’s movies are also no stranger as they have been used as villains for children. Think back to something such as The Monster Squad and how Dracula was the leader of the monsters.
Disney themselves does have quite a bit of history with vampires of you look at the tv side of things. I do think that this movie may have been one of the earliest examples of a vampire on Disney Channel. It’s quite interesting seeing go from a movie where a vampire is a bad guy in 2000 to a Disney Junior
program starring a little vampire girl in 2017.
Part of me wonders if that is how society’s perception of vampires changed after a certain teenage film series as in recent years, we’ve seen more material where vampires could be good or bad whereas, in this film, the vampire is just a straight-up bad guy.
The title gives you what the movie is about succinctly. However, there is a bit more to it than that. This movie deals with a family is a bit broken as they have just gone through a divorce This is the big theme of the movie and the vampire is used as an obstacle they must overcome. The basic gist of the film is that the two older siblings have events they wish to attend but they end up getting grounded. Adam, the thirteen-year-old middle brother has gotten tickets to a Headless Horsemen concert at a Halloween festival, and his older sister, Chelsea has a date with her boyfriend but they both end up grounded. Adam because of a bad report and his sister for making fun of him.
Yeah, the middle child is obsessed with monsters and basically used a tabloid magazine akin to the Enquirer for his report. The two siblings find a workaround of getting out of being grounded, they set their mom up on a date. Yeah, that makes these two endearing.
They first trying setting her up online but she meets someone while the family is grocery shopping named Dimitri and they hit it off. That is until their youngest brother sees the guy turn into a bat and thinks he’s a vampire. Of course, he’s right but his older siblings don’t believe him. So, we have a case of something similar to what happened in the Boogedy sequel.
I’m afraid that this is a trope I’m going to tire of if it keeps up with these movies during the month. The youngest brother ends up calling a vampire hunter that is played by Lizzie McGuire’s dad. However, this film debuted one year before one of the most beloved Disney Channel shows.
And this is where the move splits in tow as Dimitri (the vampire) is able to trick the kids at first into showing he’s not a vampire by failing a spoon test. This is not a real vampire test and I made a fool of myself looking this up before verifying that it was only made up by Adam to trick his brothers.
This does not align with the ideas of vampires not being able to see their shadow or garlic being a detriment to them. Obviously, there are various forms of but Dimitri is based on the classical vampire. As he displays traits such as turning into a bat and superstrength. This is seen when Dimitri throws the kids’ bikes across the street and damages them after being thrown out of a club where the kids’ mom (Caroline Rhea) sing.
This is where the older siblings figure out they are dealing with a vampire and the movie just becomes a chase for the kids to stop the vampire before he can drink the blood of their mother.
I must admit that their mom puts up a good fight and never actually connects with Dimitri, much to his chagrin. He hypnotizes her and takes her back to his manor and the kids are able to break their mom out of a trance using true love.
Pretty simple fare and not bad though there are better movies. I used to remember this movie as annoying and while I don’t think that’s the case now, it’s just kinda boring and compared to something like Don’t Look Under the Bed, there isn’t a whole lot there for older kids in my opinion.
Adam & Chelsea played by Matt O’Leary & Laura Vandervoort
When the movie started, these kids were awful. They do get better as the movie goes on but jeez, I couldn’t stand them. Especially Adam as in order to get tickets for the concert that he wanted to go to, he set up his sister unknowingly on a date with a guy she doesn’t like and promised him that she’d kiss him at the end of the date. Dude, you’re a creep for selling out you’re sister like that. The older sister wasn’t much better either as she was just the stereotypical older sister that loved talking to her boyfriend on the phone.
Lynette played by Caroline Rhea
Caroline Rhea was actually quite good in this movie and it was easy to buy her as a mom that was trying to figure out her what direction her life should be going in now. This is a different role than what people were used to from her at the same as she was better known for her work on Sabrina but this role shows she could slip into not a serious role but a less comedic one and still do really well.
Taylor played by Myles Jeffery
Taylor is just the little brother and that’s it. There is a buddy cop element when he teams up with the vampire hunter but that’s about it. Really, his role can be summed up as the kid and while that can work for some movies, it doesn’t feel like he gets a lot to work with, even though he’s the one that first notices Dimitri is a vampire.
Malachi Van Helsing played by Robert Carradine
TVTropes describes Carradine’s Vampire Hunter character as a bit bumbling but that’s not quite accurate as he is good at his job. He’s just rather peculiar and a bit odd. But heh, that comes with the territory of being a Vampire Hunter. However, I gotta ask, did they really have to give him the Van Helsing surname? I get that he is the most popular Vampire Hunter but it’s just so cliche.
Dimitri played by Charles Shaughnessy
This is now the second DCOM where Mr. Sheffield played the bad guy I’ve reviewed. And once again, he was really good and one of the best parts of the movie. His vampire was a little corny but that goes with the territory of someone starring in a DCOM. There is a sense of menace in his vampiric actions that make it seem like he could win at any moment.
My Final Thoughts
This film is okay and maybe not a bad one for young kids during this time of year. Though, I do think there are better DCOMs for this time of year. It’s fun but there are better options. Join me next time as we look at…
Phantom of the Megaplex