Fright Night Directed by: Craig Gillespie Cast: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, David Tennant Running Time: 1 hr 46 mins Rating: R Release Date: August 19, 2011
PLOT: A teenager (Yelchin) begins to suspect his neighbor (Farrell) is a vampire after kids start disappearing from school.
WHO'S IT FOR? If you like horror/action, get in line. The 3D is a quality gimmick here, so that part is totally up to you.
EXPECTATIONS: I never saw the first, and it's not available on Netflix Instant, so I tried, OK people? While I'm a fan of the cast, I really wasn't expecting much from this end of summer flick. Plus, it's directed by the guy who did the horror film Lars and the Real Girl ... wait a minute, that's not a horror film, that's a quality movie. What's going on here?
ACTORS: Anton Yelchin as Charley Brewster: In his opening scene, he talks to his beat up dirt bike that has let him down time and time again. This somehow immediately makes me root for this relatable geek. I'm on board. Charley has the appropriate reactions to the extreme (yes, there are vampires) and even a nice side story about the odd situation of being suddenly popular in school. Score: 8
Colin Farrell as Jerry: Yep. This good-looking neighbor could seduce the ladies. It's very effective when Charley sees his mom flirt with Jerry. Yes, Jerry the vampire. Plus, Farrell seems to have fun with this role, even more so than with Horrible Bosses. He finds campy moments like quickly going deadpan or overreacting to some sunlight. Even his slight eye squints turn this character on a dime. It's really good stuff. Score: 9
Imogen Poots as Amy: Oh, she Poots. She Poots indeed. The hot girl chooses the normal kid because she wants to. I buy it because Poots sells it. Sure, Charley clearly worked out over the summer as well, but still. There are genuine moments here with Amy and Charley that really help you have a rooting interest. Score: 7
David Tennant as Peter Vincent: Thank god Russell Brand wasn't available for the role of Peter. That's how Tennant's performance felt in the best way possible. Peter is an over-the-top Vegas performer. He also collects vampire-related relics. Tennant plays for laughs but doesn't beg for them. Score: 8
Rest of Cast: Look at Christopher Mintz-Plasse still getting work as the nerdy high school kid. Good for him. It totally works in this role as Charley's childhood buddy. Dave Franco ("Scrubs: Interns") and Reid Ewing ("Modern Family") play Charley's new friends who are clearly the cool ones in town. Again, good casting. At first it's strange to see Toni Collette as Charley's mom, but she definitely finds some quality moments especially when the action starts kicking in. Plus, there's a nice cameo from Chris Sarandon.
TALKING: Farrell gives a couple of great speeches and has the best lines. Even something like, "She's ripe," or "If it wasn't for your little Scooby Gang," come off as nutty fun when it's from Jerry the vampire. Not only does Charley act appropriately, but the script allows everyone to quickly catch up and realize vampires are afoot. Score:
SIGHTS: I saw this in 3D. Gimmicks galore. They pull out all of the stops. Things fly at you, ashes sparkle and fall like snowflakes, they can't get enough. So, the question is, can you? I like 3D when it is immersive like Wall-e and I like 3D when it's balls to the walls nuts like Drive Angry. So, this 3D works for me because again, they use every tool in the 3D shed. If you don't feel the same, see it in 2D. Score: 8
SOUNDS: Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kids" starts us off as we stroll through suburban Las Vegas. Hugo's "99 Problems" is perfectly placed in this film. Ramin Djawadi does the musical score for the film and it's creepy fun. Score: 7
BEST SCENE: Charley is loaded with weapons and ready to fight. Peter joins in. Then, so do a lot of vampires. It's action/horror at its perfect level. You know what other moment is great? Charley gets a girl out of the house, and the rescue goes seriously wrong.
ENDING: They end on a high note with action that totally pays off.
QUESTIONS: Jerry, how good is your sense of smell? Because it seemed fantastic in the beginning, but then you couldn't sense Charley was near. Also, couldn't they have tied up McLovin' or something? His exit was actually a little sad.
REWATCHABILITY: This is probably one of those movies that I'll forget about for a while, then I'll be totally thrilled when I happen across it on cable. Also, I plan on watching the original whenever it becomes convenient.
We've seen it before. No, I'm not talking about the original film. Fright Night has a good, intense scaring start. Then, we're introduced to some fun characters and BAM we're told Jerry is most definitely a vampire.
Unfortunately, it becomes a waiting game for Charley to realize Jerry actually is a vampire. The movie starts to drag and you realize Fright Night will fall into that all to familiar category of "Strong star, then peters out." Oh well... Wait, what the hell?!
Yes, I seriously had a "what the hell" moment. Fright Night surprised me. Charley sneaks around in a vampire's house for a little too long. It seems to slow down the momentum of the film, but that's just for a second. There's a big payoff with that scene and for the rest of the time it just kept pumping up the excitement and action. BAM indeed.
Other movies tend to drag our hero through many moments of trying to convince others the bad guy is actually bad. Fright Night literally just blows up the freaking house. The gimmick of 3D is on full display, so you can take that or leave it. Most importantly, Fright Night finds a great balance between the scares, the action and the fun.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10