The Little Vampire

The Little Vampire (2000)
New Line Home Entertainment
Cast: Jonathan Lipnicki, Richard E. Grant, Jim Carter, Alice Krige
Extras: 3 Animated games, Jokes and Recipes, Theatrical Trailer, Cast & Crew Biographies

If you think ’The Little Vampire’ is a pure children’s film or a cheap installment of the ’Goosebumps’ series, think again. Not only is this New Line Home Video release a film of high production values, but it is beautifully acted, photographed and edited. While it is still a story based on characters from Angela Sommer-Bodenburg’s novel and as such a story designed for children, a word of heed may be in place. Although the film does not contain any on-screen violence or blood, the imagery itself is very dark and gothic at times which may be unsettling for young viewers. Especially the shots of vampire grimaces baring their teeth could easily come from any full-fledged horror film in terms of their visual impact.

It is the story of a boy whose family has relocated from California to Schotland. Always the outsider, one day he sees a vampire. No one believes him of course. But one night he manages to save the vampire boy’s life, and becomes friends with him. From there on his life is changed and he dives into a world of myths and lore and sets out to help the vampires to find their eternal peace.

New Line Home Video is once again bringing us a great looking DVD, although there is significant grain and mosquitoing evident in the transfer in a number of shots, which is surprising for such a new film and New Line’s usually extremely high standards. Still the image is stable and absolutely clean and without any blemishes. Presented in both, anamorphic widescreen and fullscreen, the DVD offers the right version for everyone. Strong colors that are balanced and very natural looking, as well as the deep blacks give the image a very powerful look that is pleasing and increasing the overall appeal of the film.

The 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track is big and dynamic, featuring a wide sound field with a very wide frequency response. Good bass reproduction gives the film a solid foundation and the clear high ends make sure every nuance of the music, sound effects and dialogues is nicely reproduced.

’The Little Vampire’ is a great film and makes for a great DVD. Check out the fun extras on the disc that are targeted towards younger viewers and see how entertaining even a vampire theme can be. The film features a light-hearted story of friendship and can be seen as a great buddy-movie for children, complete with funny dialogues, cool action and impressive pictures. Director Uli Edel, who has started his career with some incredible dramas – especially ’Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo’ is an impressive piece of German history – pulls all the stops with this film, approaching the film with the right mindset to make it work for children and adults alike. I know, if I were 10 years old or so, ’The Little Vampire’ would be the kind of movie that would send my imagination soaring. Check it out, it is a lot of fun!