Monday, August 22, 2011

Fright Night

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.


  1. I'm a fan of the original, but I'm into cheesy '80s horror.

    We saw the remake on Saturday and I definitely enjoyed it, despite some small things. The "I’m gonna end him or he’s gonna end me," mentality is annoying and doesn't fit in with the original film at all. Original was silly this one was much more serious, but I guess that's a remaker's prerogative.

    The 3D darkening effect was really obvious - it reminded me of last year's Piranha 3D. I could at least tell that this film was actually filmed in 3D and not post converted - the ash scenes were really cool, especially the final one when Jerry is staked.

    Nice review!

  2. Wow. I'm not going to bother. Thanks Alex ;-)

  3. so what did you do for the last half an hour of the movie?

  4. @Robert - do you really think it was filmed in 3D? All the 3D effects (including the ashes) were computer effects, right? At any rate, the glasses made the movie way too dark.

    @Andy - my pleasure, buddy brah

    @Toby - I sat diligently in my seat, waiting for it to end. I've never walked out of a movie in my life and I was damned if Fright Night was gonna get the best of me.

    Thanks fellas for reading! I love all your sites.

  5. You're a better man than me. That or you have more patience for mediocrity than I do.

    In 2009 I probably walked out of the cinema for at least a third of all the movies I saw. The earliest I walked was for terminator salvation which beat 2012 by at least 10 minutes.

  6. There's a really famous critic, whose name escapes me, and he bases how worthy a film is by how many reels he sits through.

    For me, if I've forked out $10+ then I'll give the director 2 hours of my time. But my god these past few years have been dismal.

  7. back in the UK we had unlimited cinema passes to the multiplex so we gave everything a try but not for long. i know what you mean, it's expensive and i rarely walk out of a film if i've paid for it. they'd have to be terrible for that. and i'd have to have been seriously lied to by the trailers.

  8. Maybe because I knew it was filmed in 3D going in I was a little forgiving and just thought it was working well. You make a good point with the ashes - they pretty much had to be computer effects and weren't filmed.

    I'm generally not a fan of 3D because so many "3D" films are filmed in 2D and post converted and they look like crap. If I have a choice when it comes to those 3D wannabes, I'll see them in 2D.

    Here's an interview with Fight Night producer Mike De Luca about filming the movie in 3D.

  9. @ Toby, didn't a company try to implement that movie pass idea here, and it backfired horribly? I LOVE that idea, like Netflix for the theater.

    @ Robert, to be honest, that makes me appreciate the movie a lot less. I thought the 3D was AWFUL and that was when I assumed it was a conversion. The fact that it was filmed in 3D, and I barely even noticed, doesn't speak too highly of the movie. Although, I do give them credit for trying.

  10. @ Toby, didn't a company try to implement that movie pass idea here, and it backfired horribly? I LOVE that idea, like Netflix for the theater.

    Wouldn't this be difficult because movie theatres don't actually profit from ticket sales, so the money at the box office is going back to the production company/what have you. So if we pay a flat rate to see unlimited movies, who gets that cut?

  11. Yeah that's why the studios shot it down right quick. Regardless, I'd be thrilled if it was implemented somehow.

  12. I'm making it worse! Oh well, at least we have Shark Night 3D to look forward to.

    I heard about a Moviepass for here in the states recently, but I don't think they really offer it yet. Their website doesn't look that good.

  13. im not sure if it's been tried anywhere else but it's been going strong in england for quite a few years now. it may be that they pay a small amount per ticket old still and aim to make as much money as possible t the candy bar.

    also i would hazard a guess that the percentage of people who went to see everything was quite small and they were outweighed by the people who still only went once a week.

    its a monthly debit from your bank account so i guess it has the same effect that buying a gym membership has, you instantly forget to go.

  14. Nice Review Alex! 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!

  15. @Toby, yeah it clearly has some problems, but I would still love to give it a go

    @Dan O., glad you enjoyed the flick. I'll check out your review later today!

    Thanks everyone for reading! Love the discussions here!

  16. Yeah sure there's problems for the cinemas. For people like you and I its manna from heaven.

  17. Probably a good thing that I don't have that pass, I'd never get anything done. I'd be very single and very unemployed.

  18. we went to the uk together, me and leah, and we were both unemployed for quite a while. this was the best thing, spending entire days watching 3 or 4 movies, taking packed lunches. and it was affordable on my jobseekers payments too.

    i miss those days. sort of.

  19. Sounds like Sudance except every day and with crappier flicks. That'd be killer during awards season though.

  20. Uh, I enjoyed Colin Farrell in this.

    1. Me too. You could tell he had a lot of fun with it.