I see no need to mince words here. Let’s be honest, Tom Holland’s original Fright Night isn’t scary, it isn’t very funny, it isn’t shocking, or sexy or whatever; it’s just a slight ‘80s horror flick that doesn’t take itself very seriously. With that criteria, Craig Gillespie’s remake is perfectly acceptable.
That’s as back end of a compliment as I can give, but this is Fright Night, not Nosferatu. If, for whatever reason, you’re expecting something good (which clearly many weren’t, given the film’s dismal box office take), then you’re better suited elsewhere.
This re-vamp (see what I did there?) follows generic teenager, Charlie around as he not-so-stealthily spies on his new neighbor, Jerry, in an effort to determine if Jerry is a vampire.
Night falls, people go missing, teens get drained, fires break out, explosions erupt, crosses are wielded, etc etc.
If Fright Night is worth seeing, it’s solely because of Colin Farrell, who plays Jerry as a confident, smooth talking bro, just as willing to share a beer as he is to suck you dry. Everything Farrell says and does is done with a slight hint of sarcasm. It’s as if Jerry, the character, is as cognizant as Farrell, the actor, of how lame he always sounds.
But when Farrell isn’t on screen, which is much of the time, the film isn’t so bad it’s good, it’s just plain bad. The script is filled with cheesy, was-this-written-by-a-sixth-grader bits like “I’m gonna end him or he’s gonna end me, that’s how it’s gonna be, so you’re gonna come with me.” The acting is dull across the board (save a few spirited scenes with James Franco’s younger brother, Dave), and the plot is full of more holes than the necks of Jerry’s victims.
Let me put it another way. Toward the end of Fright Night, there’s a big climatic scene that involves busted gas lines, an exploding house, a thrown motorcycle, a few car accidents and an amusing cameo. I was excited during the scene, knowing all well that the movie would soon be over and I could go back to not wasting my time so foolishly. When the scene finished, I looked at my phone. The movie had only been running for an hour. I sank down in my chair, let out an audible sigh and did what I hope none of you have to do: stayed until the end. D
Note: This 3D conversion technology is slowly proving itself to be utterly useless. If you’ve worn them, you know the 3D glasses make the picture much darker, not a very good thing for a movie that takes place mostly at night.