It isn’t often that we get a chance to review family fare here at iHorror, but it was clear from the first viewing that The Little Vampire deserved some attention.
Directed by Richard Claus and Karsten Kiilerich, The Little Vampire takes its story from the same source material as the 2000 film starring Jonathan Lipnicki and Rollo Weeks. The children’s fantasy book Der kleine Vampir by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg has been a mainstay in children’s libraries since it was published in 1979 and has been translated into over 30 languages worldwide.
In the film, a young vampire by the name of Rudolph Sackville-Bagg (Rasmus Hardiker) is sick and tired of celebrating his thirteenth birthday over and over again. He’s also grown tired of his father’s rules which keep the entire family shielded from the outside world.
In a moment of pure rebellion, he flies out of the family’s home and right into the sights of notorious vampire hunter Rookery (Jim Carter, reprising his role from the live action film). Before long, the entire family is being hunted by Rookery and his inventive assistant, and he won’t rest until they are eradicated.
It’s then that Rudolph meets Tony Thompson (Amy Saville), a thirteen year old American boy fascinated by all things vampire.
At its core, The Little Vampire is a story about the power of seeing beyond the boundaries of “us vs. them”, making it a timely film considering recent events in our real world. Rudolph fails at every attempt to save his family until he embraces the friendship Tony offers him and they begin to work together.
It isn’t all deep reflection and lessons, however. Comedy abounds in the ineptitude of Rookery’s efforts. His repeated failures while using his assistant’s vampire hunting tools would have made Wile E. Coyote proud and had me looking for an ACME stamp on more than one of them.
The film’s animation is stunning. It’s deep purples and blues at night and in the vampire’s lair is matched only by the equally brilliant oranges and golds of the daylight world.
Claus and Kiilerich packed their supporting cast with enormous talent.
Tim Piggot-Smith and genre-favorite Alice Krige (also reprising her role from the 2000 film) voice Rudolph’s parents, Frederick and Freda, perfectly complementing Kevin Otto and Julia Rhodes as Bob and Dottie, Tony’s parents. Each of the actors bring their own tenacity and determination to protect their children at all costs to their roles, whether that protection should be from actual threats or from what they perceive as an overactive imagination.
Larger-than-life British actress Miriam Margolyes, famous for her portrayal as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter franchise, gives voice to Wulftrud who, along with her husband Gernot (Matthew Marsh) runs the rather palatial bed and breakfast in which the Thompsons stay on their European vacation. She plays the garlic-carrying, vampire-fearing character to its comedic hilt.
This is one animated film that is destined to be a family favorite, and would be perfect for the lead up to Halloween night.
The Little Vampire is currently enjoying a limited theatrical run. Check out the trailer below!