Fright Night

PhotobucketFlat remake of the fondly remembered 80s classic. A mysterious neighbor moves into a Las Vegas subdivision and raises the concerns of a high schooler next door who slowly learns the new resident is not what he appears to be. The intense and more serious tone is surprising in this age of the self-aware horror film. The original could use a reinvention, but this chronicle is pretty conventional stuff. Unexpectedly straightforward, the script’s idea of an update is to ratchet up the gore to earn an R rating.

The proceedings feel more like a glossy Hollywood production that lacks (excuse the pun) bite.  Not much innovation or soul was invested into the formula.  There’s little to set this apart. We get yet another film in 3D, but the full splendor of the graphics are only used intermittently. On several occasions, vampires burst into flaming dust and the particles float into the air and towards the audience. Nice effect, but other than that, little reason to justify the more expensive process. The creature morphing visuals suffer from muddy CGI. It begs the question, why was this remake necessary?

The movie does get a few things right. Las Vegas is an inspired setting. What better place for a vampire to make his home than in a city where people sleep all day and work all night? Also impressive is the cast which is strictly A-list. Colin Farrell makes a seductive vampire. He’s a great choice, but he’s not given that much to do. His performance hinges on squinty male model stare and sexy poses. David Tennant portrays the Criss Angel-style magician (and vampire expert). Our protagonist Charley needs his assistance in defeating his neighbor. Making Peter Vincent a magician is a creative rewrite on the B movie TV host that Roddy McDowall played in the 1985 version. But the script is overzealous in its attempt to make the character quirky . Vincent just seems silly, a lazy imitation of comedian Russell Brand. Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays Charley’s nerdy former best friend. Charley has ditched him for a couple of douche bag friends that are representative of his new cool status. His inexplicable desire to hang around them is confusing though. Charley’s dating the beautiful popular girl and she likes him BECAUSE he’s different, so the rejection of his nerdy friend to court their favor doesn’t make sense.

There are moments where the story rises above the ordinary, but for the most part this version lacks the amusing details and heart of the original. The pacing is lethargic. The plot is a series of one generic action set piece after another, none of which are particularly memorable or exciting. A battle during the second half in Vincent’s penthouse of the hotel almost put me to sleep. Even the climatic showdown in the basement of Jerry’s house is pretty by the numbers. The scene of earthy catacombs under the house with a giant mound of dirt on the floor is like the lair in Silence of the Lambs. Not the worst redo of a horror film. It’s pleasant enough while you’re watching it, but you probably wont remember it a week later. From a cast as notable as this, that’s a big disappointment.

4 Responses to “Fright Night”

  1. Could’ve and should’ve been better. No explanation on why only after 5 minutes, there were accusations of the neighbor being a vampire. Just ok


    • You might remember in the opening a TV is on inside one of the homes and on it the local news is describing a bizarre string of attacks where people say someone is trying to bite them. Then we see a home where a woman being eaten by some creature. The mother and father have already been killed and the boy tries to hide under the bed but is found and killed also.

      Later his nerdy best friend “Evil Ed” tells Charley that he and Adam were doing surveillance and have deduced that all the disappearances of late are localized to Charley’s neighborhood, and that on a map these vanishings radiate from Charley’s house. But I admit it’s unclear how exactly Ed came to this conclusion, that it was the work of vampires, and that in fact Charley’s new neighbor Jerry is a vampire.


  2. Wow. I actually thought this would be really good. Still going to watch it and form my own opinion but seeing as you didn’t like it, I probably won’t either.


  3. Nice Review! The tone may be all over the place, but it still has a lot of fun to it with blood, guts, and gore flying at you with good performances from the cast, especially Farrell who seems like he’s just having a ball with this role. Check out my review when you can!


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