After a new neighbor moved into the house next door, Charley discovers that he is an ancient vampire and goes in search for the help of Peter Vincent, a famous "vampire killer" to save his neighborhood from the creature.
A remake of the 1985 original, teenager Charley Brewster (Yelchin) guesses that his new neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Farrell) is a vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths. When no one he knows believes him, he enlists Peter Vincent (Tennant), a self proclaimed vampire killer and Las Vegas magician, to help him take down Jerry.Written by
While shooting the pool scene, Colin Farrell got a bit overzealous and accidentally punctured Christopher Mintz-Plasse's stunt double with his prosthetic fangs. See more »
How Evil Ed not only found the magician's suite, but even gets there is never adequately explained, especially since he has changed into a vampire by that time. See more »
Defy reason. Defy everything you know. A mind blowing experience of the occult and supernatural. Peter Vincent. A magical tour de force. Peter Vincent. Welcome to Fright Night. Onstage at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
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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-
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