Fright Night

Hard to Remember by Morning

         
 

19 August 2011| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Colin Farrell is horrific and funny, but the rest of the thrills are mishandled. The horror and gore is mixed with campy comedy in Fright Night. The achingly sheepish Anton Yelchin (“Terminator: Salvation”) is the teenage kid Charley with a serious concern over his new next door neighbor Jerry, played by Farrell who is unmistakably a vampire. Every heroic teenager has a sweet and doting girlfriend, and here she is played by Imogen Poots (“28 Weeks Later”) as Amy. Much of the early stuff is formulaically entertaining, but the foreboding and foreshadowing is predictable and the last half hour is strained with obligatory chase scenes where the good guys annoyingly protract the inevitable.

Following the bloody intro and credits, “Fright Night” has an astonishing aerial shot at the beginning that shows a community of tract homes that are in square formation from the skyview, with nothing else around it but desert – it’s all very isolated and anonymous, and definitively normal. But evil lurks underneath its pallid surface. The police and fire departments are typically absent from any scene of destruction.

The movie simply doesn’t rise above its derivative roots. Except there is one exciting development at about thirty minutes in where Charley breaks into Jerry’s home and runs to the closet to hide once his foe has returned, and accidentally finds a trick secret door that leads to a corridor of other doors with unknown spooky stuff behind them. Locked behind one of the doors is a sexy blonde named Doris (Emily Montague) who Jerry plans to snack on. There are two ways for Charley to respond to this situation: Sneak out quietly with Doris, or run in a mad dash. Which one do you think our hero will choose?

Once he is free, who do you think he will tell? Besides the disbelieving but bubbly girlfriend Amy, our bland and gosh-golly hero Charley has a disbelieving mom (Toni Collette, “Little Miss Sunshine”) who annoyingly is the world’s most timid driver. And then there’s the Fright Night master of ceremonies Peter Vincent (David Tennant, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”), who performs in Vegas shows and sometimes acts as a vampire consultant. Really, he’s the only performer in the cast that matches Farrell wit for wit. For Farrell, he is resuscitating his former work in “Horrible Bosses,” “Daredevil” and “In Bruges” all in one inspired blend. Then there is Christopher Minz-Plasse (“Superbad”) who is the extreme geek on the block and an easy dinner.

One routine action scene after another is what you eventually get. We have a bunch of good guys with crosses, chalices, crossbows and the mother of all weapons, a blessed impalement stake. Nobody can finish off the job, though. The heroes get their vampire and vampire’s sidekick good, then they get scared, and then run off. And then Jerry and whomever bad regenerates back to health. As it pulls up to its predictable finale, “Fright Night” repetitively wants to have its cake and eat it too.

I reviewed this in 3D. You get a couple of cool shots of fire debris flickering at you, and a bucket of paint along with shards of glass flying at your eyes. This is one minute out of one hundred and one. The rest of the time you feel like you’re wearing sunglasses.

101 Minutes. Rated R.

HORROR / VAMPIRE FLICK / SUNDAY OR MONDAY NIGHT HORROR AFTER THE BRAIN IS HALF-ASLEEP

Film Cousins: “Fright Night” (1985); “The Lost Boys” (1987); “Near Dark” (1987); ‘”Thirst” (2009, South Korea).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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