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I had the grave misfortune of attending an early preview screening for
this piece of garbage. The audience I saw it with was less than
enthused as well. I credit them with having some actual taste. I must
disclose that I am a fan of the original film. In fact in the pantheon
of great vampire movies I feel that "Fright Night," stands tall as one
of the best ever. It's a very clever idea for a vampire film and the
original characters are a lot of fun. The original film is in many ways
a love letter to horror films and horror fans. The main character in
the original is a horror fan, his friends are horror fans and he
idolizes Peter Vincent who is the host of a late night horror movie
show. The film was post modern and gave the audience credit for having
some kind of prior knowledge. Now we are confronted with this brain
dead remake. It is hard to know where to begin in explaining how awful
this new film is.
We can start with the sad fact that the very essence of the original characters, their arcs and their dynamics have been changed almost completely. The main character, Charlie, is now a self-absorbed and selfish jerk. Charlie treats his much more intelligent friend Ed like human waste. Charlie has a hot girlfriend and is hanging out with a much more popular crowd. Ed's intellect and peculiarities set him apart so of course Charlie has to drop him as a friend. When a movie starts off and your protagonist is a fake and hateful cretin it is a serious problem.
Then there is the character of Evil Ed himself who is unfortunately played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Mintz-Plasse has now given the exact same tiresome performance in God knows how many movies. In the original film Ed was a tragic character. In this one he is at best an annoyance.
The main problem with the new characterizations lies in the re-imagining of Peter Vincent. He is now a Las Vegas magician who prances around like Russell Brand and almost seems like a complete afterthought in the film. Vincent's arc in the original movie was touching and central to the narrative's success. In this new incarnation he hardly drives the film at all. Like every other poor decision made by the filmmakers, the casting of David Tennant is merely a stunt to draw the geek crowd in. He might as well not even be in the picture.
Colin Farrell is not a disaster as Jerry Dandridge, but he is hardly a success either. Chris Sarandon's portrayal was sly and full of little touches that really sold the implicit threat of Dandridge. Farrell is a very obvious actor and he gives a very obvious performance in this movie. His character is really more of a serial killer/sexual predator than a true master vampire. As the movie progresses he goes steadily over the top and seems less and less threatening for doing so. By the time he is chasing Charlie, Charlie's mom and Charlie's girlfriend on a motorcycle he might as well be The Terminator. His supernatural abilities rarely if ever come into play.
The film has zero atmosphere and barely comes to anything approaching excitement. Product placement is rampant and so frequent that it becomes hilarious. The fun, new-wave Gothic feel of the original film has been replaced by a slick treatment more befitting a luxury car commercial. There is no edge to this movie. The computer effects are terrible and poorly rendered. The editing is desperate and the gotcha moments are lame in the extreme. I was so bored watching it I resorted to checking my watch every few minutes to see when the ordeal would be over. If you are thinking about viewing this abomination I would suggest streaming the original on Netflix or watching it for free on Hulu. Your time would be better spent and you will not have wasted thirty dollars or more on crappy, post-production 3D.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Geek has gorgeous blonde girlfriend. (the only thing that kept me
interested) Geek won't sleep with her because Colin Farrel is a vampire
who has killed his even dorkier friend. And nobody cares because it's
Farrel is the nicest vampire I have ever met and for an R-rated movie there is almost no blood and no swearing.
I think this is meant to be a comedy but I didn't laugh once. I was just bored.
Really, really, really stupid moronic crap-snooze-fest. Don't watch this even if someone pays you to watch it.
Writing / Dialogues: 5
Difficult to imagine what the actual screenplay was like, since obviously so many bad decisions have been made while shooting and later in the editing room, that what's left of it is a mess, which only resembles storytelling.
Character study: 3
Not even worth commenting. Surprisingly, some actors were able to somewhat lift what they've been given to work with, which probably explains why this movie hasn't been a total bore to some people.
See comments just above.
Totally lacks imagination and vision. Relational and geographical interactions between characters are contrived at best, the blockings and angle are at the cheap TV-series level, the eye of the camera never engages. For Pete's sake, we are in a fantasy movie, and 15 minutes into it, we haven't had a single subjective shot? No tension has been built from the camera work? What the..? For the rare image here and there that could stick in your mind, the credits probably go to the cinematographer, not the director.
Visual style / art direction: 3
This movie has no visual style. It looks dull. The places, the props, the people, they all look dull, washed-out and uninteresting. Yawn.
Competent, sometimes vaguely interesting (dusk scenes). Never more than that.
Yawn. Never succeeds in achieving something even remotely interesting. It's barely competent. The editing decisions look like they could have been made by a computer, or a fresh businessman with an editing handbook.
Unless you're in for Colin Farell's sex appeal, or your expectations are low, you're in for a big disappointment and a yawn fest.
Not worth your time unless you're seriously bored, and/or you have really nothing else to do.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Some of you may recall a dark little gem of a movie from 1985 called
Fright Night. Nearly as funny as it was scary, Fright Night took the
basic scenario from Rear Window and turned it into a vampire tale. What
if, the story proposed, you discovered that your new neighbor was one
of the undead? Would anybody believe you? And what would you do when
the vampire came after you? The result was one of the finest horror
films of the 80s, and one of the best vampire films ever.
Fast forward to 2011 and the inevitable remake. Let's be clear, I don't inherently dislike remakes. I believe it is possible to take a good story and re-interpret it in a new and creative way. Occasionally, the remake is even better than the original.
This is not one of those occasions.
Directed by Craig Gillespie (who helmed the outstanding sleeper hit of 2007, Lars and the Real Girl), the 2011 Fright Night retains the basic plot from the original but changes things in all the wrong places. We still have a teenage boy who learns that his next door neighbor is a vampire, but everything else is a radical departure from the 1985 film. The original movie created a creepy, American Gothic sort of atmosphere and populated it with main characters that were easy to identify with. The filmmakers were obviously familiar with the old Hammer vampire classics and played off of the audience's undoubted familiarity with them as well. The humor was omnipresent but subtle and developed naturally from the dialogue and character interaction. And when it was time to be scary, it was scary indeed.
The new film doesn't bother trying to be very Gothic, American or otherwise. Set in Las Vegas, of all places, the movie has a grungy feel to it which is probably intentional, even though it undercuts the film's mood more than once. Informed not by Hammer horror but by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight, the remake tries to appeal to fans of those stories while still trying to duplicate what succeeded so well in the original. It doesn't work, anymore than baking a cherry pie with coconuts would. Blech.
More's the pity because the cast is absolutely outstanding: Anton Yelchin, David Tennant, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots. Every one of them plays their part well, and for the most part they even seem to be enjoying themselves (especially Tennant, a renowned Shakespearean actor who here plays a very un-Shakespearean character). The thespian talent on hand should guarantee a good film, even with a bad script and questionable direction. But the cast's best efforts just aren't enough to overcome the weaknesses of the story itself.
The final product isn't particularly scary, and the humor, though incessant, is generally too vulgar and unimaginative to ever really be funny. Even the special effects, heavily reliant on CGI, are inferior to those of the original. There's no reason why Fright Night 2011 had to be a bad movie, especially not with the incredible cast. Ironically, in their desire to resurrect a genre classic, the filmmakers took Fright Night and drained it of everything that gave it life.
I'm a big fan of the 1985 original "Fright Night". I'm not saying that
it's ever going to be thought of as being in a class with "Casablanca"
or "Citizen Kane", but it's a fun diversion and does boast a truly
excellent performance from Roddy Mcdowell, good performances from
William Ragsdale and Stephen Geoffreys, and possibly the most menacing
and frightening vampires I've ever seen in Chris Sarandon. Hell, even
the presence of Amanda Bearse wasn't too offensive !!
On the other hand, I've just watched the remake and find it hard to believe that, even with some of the absolutely awful movies that are being released now, that this unutterable piece of crap could have EVER made it to a screen.
There is NOT ONE likable character in this version, and to add insult to injury, they're all so badly played that you won't know whether to laugh or cry.
All in all, unless you are a teenage girl with an IQ that pretty much matches your bra size, and thinks that the completely ridiculous "Twilight" things are "Like, soooo coool, avoid this horror story of a horror story LIKE THE PLAGUE...which, come to think of it, probably would have been more fun to watch.
In many ways it looks like a great re-make: they've managed to bring
the story up to 2011 really well, and the actors are perfect for the
roles. The renewal of the characters is also well done in most cases, I
especially enjoyed the new "Peter Vincent" - they have found a very
humorous way to renew this character.
For the part of Jerry, Colin Farrel is a wise choice. But IMO they failed miserably in renewing this essential character. Unfortunately, and this is what ruins the whole movie for me; they have taken all the seduction out of Jerry!! :( What I LOVE about the old movie is especially the way Jerry seduces everyone around him (except Charlie). He even seduces Charlie's friend, Evil. And the scenes with Jerry and Amy are SO hot. That has all been taken out of the character Jerry in this movie, and that disappointed me so badly. If given the chance, I am certain that Colin Farrel would have rocked at playing Jerry in a more seductive way - he certainly has the look.
So, because of this "destruction" of the character Jerry, I can only give the movie 3 stars.
I have not seen the original, only the remake so I cannot judge the
quality of original nor quality of the remake. The movie itself feels
like "afternoon teen movie for MTV generation" - lots of "dudes", lots
of shots of Las Vegas, total lack of logic or sense, no thrills at all,
no horror at all.
The Underworld series was stupid but at least it had some depth, cool costumes and some cool fights. This movie feels like cheap rip off of the Disturbia combined with the most stupid vampire move you can ever imagine. Plus some action at the end so we do not leave the cinema too early.
I'm somewhat horrified that anyone could actually like it. The two first Blade movies were really good and the John Carpenters Vampires was really great. So Americans actually can make really good vampire movies - but this one is definitely not the case. What the hell, even Salem's Lot was better, more clever and more scary! In Blade there were cool vampires, there was depth, mystery, war between clans and between vampires and humans.
In here we have lousy neighborhood, one not particularly bright paranoid teenager, two not particularly bright blondes, one confused nerd, several "dudes" and one vampire which is not normal vampire, he is "almost unkillable killing machine" but actually behaves like another "dude". There is nothing important going on, everything that happens is more or less somewhat escalated neighbor conflict completely ignored by anyone else in the vicinity.
What a lousy movie. This is one of the worst vampire movies I have ever seen and definitely the most dumb one. Total disappointment.
I watched this movie after reading the reviews, but was pleasantly shocked by the movie. The movie is horrendous, no doubt but once you shut your mind and adjust to the nonsensical background score, it's pretty much a free ride. It's quite dull without actually meaning to be. The acting is horrible, the script more so, but somehow the chemistry between the two leads is fierce, esp. the bantering when they are discussing the vampire "myths"... Pretty much explained the anomalies of Twilight, like walking in the sun and not being affected by stakes, etc. and they made sense too. With that said, the sexy boys are the main attraction and the music was awful and certainly did not help the mood of the movie. At times, it was better to look away from the screen and concentrate on the subtitles that hear that god-awful sound, but we got along. I especially hated the weird background score whenever Charley- not Charlie- touched Jerry. Not too mention the overdose of shirtless guys and the meadow threesome scene with shocking wiener shot was absurd and not required, but i believe as the target audience was probably teens it made sense, at least to the film-makers. The only token girl was Imogen Poots, but she was covered up to her ears - literally. The final scene was pretty touching, though. All-in-all, it is a pretty awfsful movie.
This film is not recommended.
The original 1985 Fright Night has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I enjoyed the suspense, the humor, the skewing of the horror film genre ( and that was pre-Scream ), and the strong acting by Roddy McDowell, Stephen Geoffreys, and especially Chris Sarandon as the sexy and dangerous vampire next door. ( My favorite moment is the lingering close-up image of the vampire's sharp fingernail digging into the mahogany railing's veneer, making ribbons of wooden slivers as he slowly descends the staircase towards his victims...a wonderful disturbing touch, quite memorable! ) Unfortunately, parts of the film were also memorable for other reasons: its 80's pop musik soundtrack, ludicrous padded shoulders, and frizzy hair styles and make-up. Yes, the film was terribly dated, but it always was, even when it came out back then.
So, an update of this successful movie seemed in order for today's more savvy movie-going audience. The central story remains compelling: Teenager Charlie Brewster ( played by Anton Yelchin ) takes notice of strange disappearances in his suburban Las Vegas community corresponding with the arrival of his new neighbor, Jerry ( Colin Farrell ). Upon closer inspection, the boy-next-door discovers that the appealing and helpful newcomer has strange and blood-thirsty habits. Trying to convince others, including his mother ( Toni Collette ) and his girlfriend ( Imogen Poots ), initially seem futile, although his best bud, Ed ( Christopher Mintz-Plasse ) more than agrees that there's trouble brewing. It's not until he hooks up with a vampire expert and Vegas illusionist ( David Tennent ), aptly named Peter Vincent, ( a homage to Mr. Cushing and Mr. Price, I'm sure ) that the battle against pure evil begins.
Craig Gillespie takes this film remake and sucks all the life out of it with pedestrian direction and an over reliance of cheesy CGI effects. The production values are sub-par, with the usually fine cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe ( The Others, The Road, Vicki Cristina Barcelona ) being the worst culprit. This film is probably one of the ugliest looking major releases in decades with a grainy unfocused look that might appear to be atmospheric to some, but I found it jarring and unwatchable. Whenever scenes are filmed indoors, the film darkens and has a dense quality on view. Certain 3-D angles were glaringly obvious in their gimmicky execution with so many objects being thrown directly toward the camera to pop out at the movie audience that it became painfully obvious and quite laughable. This remake starts out well, thanks primarily to Farrell's acting. He brings a sense of menace and cocksure masculinity to his role. His character enjoys his power and strength and one can see the actor relishing his dark side. Any tongue-in-cheek humor in the film are solely caused by his performance. In fact, the film loses its irony and farcical elements that were the saving grace of the original. Once the identity of the vampire is revealed to the doubting mother and girlfriend, so much of the film falls apart and becomes more illogical and absurd in its action sequences, its slight change in story direction, and its rising gore quota.
Most of the cast is wasted on this revised material. The two young leads have no real chemistry, look older than their teenage years, and deliver their lines flatly. Tennent has some comic moments but is merely a charmless Russell Brand / Criss Angel imitation and Collette has little to do in her underwritten role.
Fright Night 2011 proves the theory that remakes rarely improve upon the original article. It's such a disappointing time with few chills and even fewer thrills, nor is it remotely scary. This is a frightfully bad movie-going experience. Rent the earlier film instead. At least that version knows how to entertain its movie audience, regardless of its fashion faux pas. GRADE: C-
NOTE: Visit my movie blog for more reviews: www.dearmoviegoer.com
I was anxious to see this remake and while it had a decent look over
all, I came away with several complaints and many problems with the
overall story board. There were moments when the action was exciting
and even thrilling to watch. I just wish the producers had used the
storyboard from the original Fight Night and redeveloped it with
today's possibilities of tools.
One major complaint that really bothered me and seems to be a pattern in today's films geared to the youth and young adults today is the heavy handed use of vulgar language. This film literally beat a dead horse with the constant puke of four letter words. This, in no way, made the film a classic as was the original. This patter of insulting foul words showed me that today they (Hollywood) take cheap shots with the script. A very sad state of script writing that tells me we're in trouble in Tinsel Town.
Last note to share is that so few films are getting over the C rating or maybe it's just me wanting more quality from the movie industry.
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