MOVIE: ** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I was 13 years old in the summer of 1985 when the original “Fright Night” hit movie theaters. It was one of the first R rated films I saw in the theater, and it was a huge thrill for me. Having grown up with late-night movie hosts in Ohio, this tapped into something very dear to me. Also, as a bit of a nerd myself, I could really relate to the character of Charlie Brewster who discovered a vampire had moved in next door.
When the remake was announced, I was nervous. Remake announcement of beloved films from your past can do that to you. I was originally intrigued by the choice of David Tennant as the new Peter Vincent, but other casting bothered me. Colin Farrell as the vampire Jerry Dandridge was worrisome, and Anton Yelchin as the not-quite-as-nerdy Charlie Brewster also bothered me.
I saw the film in the theaters with trepidation, and through the unnecessary 3D element, it was clear the film was not nearly as good as the original. The setting was changed from Anywhere, California to Las Vegas, and Peter Vincent was changed from a has-been TV host to Cris Angel type of magician.
In short, the film’s nerdiness was abandoned.
“Fright Night” became a victim of its own genre. It seems that nowadays, filmmakers can’t make a teen vampire movie without a trendy soundtrack and ubersexiness. The monster element is neutered, and the characters have to be cool. Even Yelchin’s portrayal of Charlie Brewster was too cool.
Aside from there being no passion behind the acting in this film, the chronology was all messed up. Evil Ed is dispatched in the first act, and it was his character in the original that actually pulled the most emotion out of the film. That’s totally gone for camp in a goofy battle scene.
It’s not that the “Fright Night” remake is that bad. It’s just not that good. It bills itself as a dark comedy, but there’s nothing to even chuckle at with the film. There’s no logic or cohesion in the scenes, and I felt no sympathy for any of the would-be victims.
The Blu-ray comes with an additional DVD with bloopers, a Kid Cudi music video and the uncut “Squid Man” fan video. The Blu-ray disc includes these features as well as five deleted and extended scenes, a mock interview with Peter Vincent and the inaccurately named “How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie” featurette.