Movie Review: Fright Night

After his film re-debut in the comedy “Horrible Bosses” (which I enjoyed very much), Colin Farrell  comes back with a vengeance in “Fright Night” in 3D, a remake of the 1985 horror film. If you haven’t seen the 80s film don’t fret; at 15 years old back then I didn’t either, and this is probably a good thing.  This version is re-written by Marti Noxon and directed by Craig Gillespie with a lighter attitude to fit in with today’s generation.


Initially, I thought this film was screening too early in the fall season (or in the latter part of summer) to garner any true following. But, hey, if Starbucks can start rolling out their seasonal Pumpkin Spiced Latte in August, then watching a horror film in an air-conditioned theater when it’s 90 degrees out will do just fine.

At first glance, I was lured by the strong cast of “Fright Night”. Besides Farrell and Imogen Poots’ convincing American accents, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee Toni Collette also changes her Australian tone for this film.  However, once the screening was over, I thought the plot of the film was weak – and therein lays the problem: Thinking. 

Surprisingly, this version of the horror classic does a fair job as a stand-alone movie and as one last lots-of-make-up-and-cheap-thrills summer flick with Farrell clearly heading a pack of cool young actors likely to please an ample age-range of movie goers.  A cameo by Chris Sarandon, one of the original film’s cast members, is thrown in as a nod to the inspiration for the 2011 redo. Without a doubt, Jerry, the hot, blood-thirsty night creature played by Collin Farrell in the updated version of “Fright Night,” might well be the only reason to go see the tepid 3D flick.

Unlike that ‘other’ vampire who swoons the ladies, in “Fright Night” the less googly-eyed and grabby Jerry swoops down to feast on an entire neighborhood. But Charlie (Anton Yeltchin) a nerdy high school kid, catches on to the night crawler and reluctantly sets out to prove that his hunky new neighbor isn’t what he seems; Jerry has a dark ulterior motive for taking up residence in the Las Vegas suburb – a perfect cover for the eccentric dweller.

Besides a sprinkle of clever lines throughout the film, the unlikely pair of high school sweethearts-turned-vampire-hunters, Charlie ( Anton Yeltchin) and Amy (Imogen Poots), give the high-school set in the audience some feel-good moments raising hopes for nerds everywhere that they too can land a pretty girl.  Ed (“Superbad’s” Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Charlie’s vampire-obsessed geeky cohort, is seething about being abandoned by his former BFF  decides to busy himself by doing double duty; fighting off school bullies (Dave Franco and Reid Ewing) and sniffing out the starving vampire.

Peter Vincent (David Tennant) is a dark magician and vampire expert sought out by the vampire-chasers to help kill off the growing human bat community. I liked Tennant’s character, which resembles Criss Angel’s Vegas personality, and delivers a Russell Brand type of performance — he manages to keep things light until the heavy fighting takes over the entire second half of the film.

“Fright Night” has more than a few funny moments, and between fits and starts once the film gets going (about 45 minutes into it), the fun begins but doesn’t last long enough. The usual scary movie tactics of dumb move after dumb move take us on an ever increasing level of frustration as the idiocy of the protagonists weaves its way through to pit good against evil.  Though I’m not a huge fan of wearing 3D glasses (on top of my prescription ones), or paying extra for this gimmick, the real 3D effects in “Fright Night” aren’t overly cumbersome or cheap; they come at you at the right moments which incidentally are few and far between.

“Fright Night” might not be screening at the right time of year as a summer blockbuster, and could have benefited from the Halloween season as a box office propeller. But, with Colin Farrell in 3D at the helm, this frighteningly unexciting film might just be this summer’s last don’t-think-much-and-enjoy movie for those millions of teenagers scared to go back to high school.


  1. Anonymous says:

    is this a horror movie

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