ENOUGH WITH THE VAMPIRES!!! There now I’ve said it, gotten it off my chest and can now return to my usual level headed, unbiased critic mode…hopefully…
Finally in his senior year Charley (Anton Yelchin – Terminator Salvation, Star Trek – 2009) has things going his way. He is hanging out with the cool kids and dating a hottie named Amy (Imogen Poots – 28 Weeks Later, V For Vendetta). The only downside is that he is now snubbing his former best friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse – Superbad, Kick-Ass) because he keeps warning him about kids disappearing and thinking a vampire is the cause of it. You feel that things are going too well for this high school senior and there are bound to be bumps in the road coming up.
Those bumps are in the form of their new next door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell – Alexander, Phone Booth). Jerry seems über cool in the beginning, but you know what they say about judging a book by its cover. Well, this book turns out to be a horror story…literally. Charley begins to realize that there is something off about Jerry. No one else, including his mother Jane (Toni Collette – from television’s United States of Tara) seems to notice that all is not right with Jerry.
Like a dog with a bone, Charley will not give up on the belief that something is up with the next door neighbour. Finally he sees something that seals the deal. Charley witnesses something that proves that Jerry is a vampire. A vampire in the neighbourhood?! Oh, the property values! Now it is up to the one true believer Charley to save everyone he cares about from this blood sucking, immortal night creature. Which is easier said than done as those pesky vampires are not easily killed. Since no one believes him he engages the help of vampire killer (in his own mind)/magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, How to Train Your Dragon) in the pursuit of ending Jerry’s existence.
We seem to be going through a period of dearth in regards to creativity in Hollywood. Very few “new” films are being made. Any film like Footloose, Arthur, Conan the Barbarian, Red Dawn, The Tourist, or True Grit that had any modicum of success is being or has been recently rebooted by Hollywood. And this is just the tip of the iceberg with films like The Warriors, Tomb Raider, Suspicion, and Romancing the Stone rumoured to being looked at for remakes.
It is not surprising then that a film like Fright Night was remade. It was originally released in 1985 and became a vampire classic. Wisely this version, directed by Craig Gillespie (Mr. Woodcock, Lars and the Real Girl), stays fairly true to the original with just some minor updating. Gillespie and the screenwriters do try to make the dubious elements of the film more plausible and have modernized the whole shebang. For instance, there are several stabs taken at the phenomenon that is Twilight. And there is plenty more action with guns, car chases and explosions happening to keep your adrenaline flowing.
There are, however, some problems with the film. Number one is that Colin Farrell, while a decent actor, is not convincing or intimidating as a vampire. He is charming, you have to give him that, and does dress well (what is that all about with vampires?), but he just isn’t big enough to be physically intimidating. I was never really scared of him like I should be. Toni Collette, as the mother, is criminally underused and her relationship with her son is totally unbelievable. Anton Yelchin is also fairly weak. He, at times, looks like he is less than enthused to be there. Put a little effort into it, laddie!!
One member of the cast who did turn in an excellent performance is Dr. Who’s David Tennant. He really munches the scenery in all the scenes he is a part of and seems totally thrilled to be offered the opportunity to do so. Very entertaining performance.
Surprisingly I did enjoy the 3D version of the film as it really enhanced the blood spattering and explosions. All the stuff flying about adds to the fun of the film. Normally I find this innovation, which Hollywood has overused to get a few more bucks needlessly out of the movie going public, useless, but in this case it was actually warranted and improved my film watching experience. They used it without overusing it, if you know what I mean.
The film is more of an action comedy than an all out horror flick. You’ll be provided with a couple of opportunities to laugh at the silliness happening. There a smidgen of suspense and entertainment to be found here, so it might just be exactly the cup of tea for someone not looking for a profound experience at the cinema.