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Overall Rating
3.56

Awesome: 21.21%
Worth A Look40.91%
Average: 22.73%
Pretty Bad: 3.03%
Total Crap: 12.12%

6 reviews, 30 user ratings


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Fright Night (2011)
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by Jack Sommersby

"Noxious 'Night'"
1 stars

One of those hopelessly inept movies that makes you want to take up late-night trash-novel reading as a viable alternative.

Fright Night is a completely unnecessary remake of the perfectly fine 1985 original that, to its considerable disservice, can't boast so much as a single good scene to its credit. Not one; nada. Where before writer/director Tom Holland effectively mixed both laughs and comedy within a classic old-fashioned framework, this new version jumps all over the place trying to be different, but it doesn't fill in the gaps with anything particularly clever or enthralling -- it's a shoddy patchwork of half-worked ideas failing to coalesce into anything resembling something of organic clarity. The story line is more or less the same: that of high-school senior Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) becoming increasingly convinced that his new next-door neighbor Jerry Danridge (Colin Farrell) is a vampire; his attempting to convince his mother Jane (Toni Collette) and girlfriend Amy (Imogene Poots) of this; as well as his trying to recruit a semi-famous TV host of schlock horror movies, Peter Vincent (David Tennant), to help him thwart this fanged fiend who's systematically knocking off people in his isolated Las Vegas suburb. But what isn't the same is the inexpressive directing and mediocre writing that never come close to getting any decent mileage out of the seemingly foolproof story premise. The original wasn't anything spectacular, but Holland, making his directorial debut after churning out fine screenplays for Psycho II and Class of 1984, gave the proceedings plenty of color, spirit, and elan -- he clearly reveled in the genre he was working in and was good for it; the director here, Craig Gillespie, who made quite the dubious debut with the abominable comedy Mr. Woodcock, hasn't a speck of visual imagination to save his life, and when constantly fouling up the scare moments you can practically see the chalk marks he isn't hitting -- he's trying to ape the inane box-office success Disturbia while fastening horror overtones onto it, and it steadily comes apart at its already-shaky seams. Pulling off a "comedy chiller" isn't the easiest thing, for the violence and humor need to coexist without clashing in tone (something George A. Romero's brilliant Creepshow masterfully brought off); with Fright Night, the villain is never menacing enough and the suspense practically nonexistent, and the comedic aspects are only halfway worked out and unbelievably clunky.

Las Vegas has been laid out as the perfect setting, for the city has a lot of night workers, which explains Jerry's daytime hours inside his house, and it has a decent amount of transients, which is brought up to explain that Jerry is feasting on people who won't be missed. But Jerry isn't preying on homeless people, but Charley's male classmates who aren't making it back to home room the next day as well as some neighbors, which doesn't make much sense being that their disappearances will warrant police attention; and why couldn't the writer, Marti Noxon (who penned the reasonably perceptive Just a Little Harmless Sex), have attempted some sly social commentary by using the city's horrendous housing-bubble burst and country-leading unemployment to give cover to the disappearances under the guise of laid-off breadwinner parents having to relocate their families elsewhere? In fact, being that the majority of the action takes place in non-casinos and the like, the story could've been set in any big city, and you're left wondering just what point Smith and Gillespie are trying to make. There are the usual in-jokes involving what will and won't work to destroy a vampire (tired, tired stuff), continuous scenes of an ever-insistent Charlie not being believed, and a bountiful array of obvious CGI effects giving us as graphic fangs-to-the-neck gore as an R rating will allow. It also doesn't help that Gillespie can't stage an action sequence to save his life: there's a high-speed chase on a desert highway with fuzzy spatial logistics and a bust of a payoff; and some facile fighting inside Vincent's penthouse apartment that's second-rate The Matrix-like stuff. And the dialogue never rises above the level of that of a mundane TV sitcom -- you can practically guess the words before they come out of the characters' mouths. Granted, the movie improves upon the original with the fine Yelchin making a far more appealing hero than the whiny William Ragsdale, and Poots is considerably more sultry than the gruesome Amanda Bearse. Otherwise, Ferrell, while game, doesn't come close to matching Chris Sarandon's spooky seductiveness; Tennant, a lightweight, hasn't an iota of Roddy McDowell's touching nuance; and Christopher Mintz-Plase tries too hard for the flamboyance of Charlie's pal Evil Ed that the uncouth but fearless Stephen Geoffreys superbly pulled off. Rent Holland's still-watchable version if you want some entertainment value; fork out money for this remake only if you've the yearning for a vampire tale that lacks some serious bite.

Rent the original -- or rent anything else. Please.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=21015&reviewer=327
originally posted: 03/12/12 14:43:00
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User Comments

2/21/17 morris campbell not that bad the original is better though 4 stars
6/29/14 Aleksandra Alimpic is cool 5 stars
7/29/12 cr a cool remake with enough scares and laughs for any horror fan. 4 stars
5/24/12 Nancy Silly but I couldn't stop watching it (waited for it to be on MovieCentral tho) 3 stars
9/16/11 Frances Brilliant! 7 times. 5 US and 2 UK. Primarily Tennant;Cast, score Fantastic. 5 stars
9/08/11 Bob Dog Enuf humor for a non-horror fan like me! 5 stars
9/08/11 Todd Teghtmeyer Better than I thought it would be 4 stars
9/04/11 johnny cage one of the better horror films i've seen lately 4 stars
9/03/11 Doubter Wow...rarely have I read so many planted reviews in the comments. Lame film. 1 stars
8/25/11 Judy Loved it!! Love Colin Farrell- sexy hunk!! 4 stars
8/23/11 Jary Saw it yesterday. Did I really need to pay the extra $$ for 3D glasses? Waste of time & $ 1 stars
8/22/11 Kristy Loved it! Thought it stayed true to the funny/campy/horror movie the origional was! 5 stars
8/22/11 Jennifer Rogers I loved it, Colin is sexy, but I love the original as well! Great film 5 stars
8/21/11 Buffy Winchester AWESOME MOVIE!! Colin Farrell was Amazing and Hot and Sexy!!! 5 stars
8/21/11 Meg Morris Enjoyed it; few slow parts but good blend of comedy gore and a hot Colin Farrell 4 stars
8/21/11 Holly Really enjoyed it. Tennant was superb, as always. Everyone perfectly cast. Will see again. 5 stars
8/21/11 Alizarin Rose David Tennant was brilliant, the movie was fantastic! 5 stars
8/21/11 Melissa better than expected. Great dark movie, but still love the classic. 5 stars
8/21/11 Gary Sparks ORIGINAL WAS SWAB AND CLASSICAL ...NEW VERSION IS DARKER AND MORE CRISP! 4 stars
8/21/11 Maat g What a great remake,a type of movie you would go see it a few times 5 stars
8/21/11 Will Thought this was the best horror remake since dawn of the dead, good mix of horror + comedy 5 stars
8/21/11 Daniel David Tennant stole the show...Brilliant! Just Brilliant! 4 stars
8/21/11 Rachel Decent, funny and scary mixed well...better than I expected! 4 stars
8/21/11 Victoria I didnt like it. Very slow, my friend and I thought Colin Farrell was very hot though!!! 2 stars
8/21/11 Karolyn D. Tennant & Colin Farrel rock the screen. A Must-see! 5 stars
8/21/11 Jordan I expected it to be good, but it was absolutely brilliant. Great justice to the original. 5 stars
8/21/11 tara spencer a for special fx--liked sarandon and mcdowell better 3 stars
8/21/11 charlie burns a+ for gore, a+ for acting, hot girls, wife loved colin farrell 5 stars
8/21/11 brad slow long and dry 2 stars
8/19/11 Kim Kelly Could use tighter editing but had its funny moments, Tennant was hilarious 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Aug-2011 (R)
  DVD: 13-Dec-2011

UK
  N/A

Australia
  19-Aug-2011
  DVD: 13-Dec-2011




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