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Fright Night (2011)


Jeff Nelson

Fright Night (2011) isn't very good. It's worth a rental at best.

Fright Night (2011)
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From the early stages, I was very hesitant about anybody remaking Fright Night (1985). It worked for the time it was made and with the amount of charm that was utilized. To put it simply, I was correct that this remake doesn't contain nearly the same amount of wit or charm. The claim that Fright Night (2011) is quite similar to Disturbia is accurate. It plays out in a similar way. I can't help but feel that this is just a cash-in for the studio. It feels like an attempt to access a movie that could be filmed in 3D to rake in the cash. Since my gut told me to avoid it, I made the decision to wait to rent the Blu-Ray from Netflix once it was released.

Teen Charley Brewster suspects that his new neighbor, the sinister Jerry Dandrige, is a vampire. He turns to a self-styled vampire expert, Peter Vincent, for help. Las Vegas magician Vincent proves useless, and it's up to Charley to save his mom, Jane, and his girlfriend, Amy, from the seductive bloodsucker. One of the greatest things about the original Fright Night is that it never took itself seriously and broke out comic relief, making it a fun affair. This remake tries to go upon the same path. The screenplay feels as if it's trying way too hard. Each of the character arches are predictable and I didn't care much for any of them at any point of the film's running time. Fortunately, the screenwriters didn't take the easy way out and attempt to receive a PG-13 rating, but put in some language and violence in order to keep the same feeling of the original. The action sequences left me feeling surprisingly underwhelmed and wondered when they would kick it up a notch. That never happened. The dialogue is perhaps one of the most disappointing points of Fright Night (2011). Not only is most of the humor unfunny, but a large portion of it comes off as tacky and as if it's trying too hard, as I previously mentioned.

While the screenplay didn't pull many surprises, it was pleasant to see the cast belting out the small amount of development his or her character received. Anton Yelchin is Charley Brewster. He fits the role and does what he can with the material he was given. I have never been much of a Colin Farrell fan, but he's entertaining as Jerry. He pulls off this form of vampire well. Toni Collette is an Oscar nominee, what is she doing here? Not to mention in what's known as the character given the worst dialogue in all of Fright Night. Imogen Poots has given worthwhile performance in other films such as 28 Weeks Later, and continues to do her thing here, although the dialogue hinders her performance a bit. While I realize that many moviegoers like Christopher Mintz-Plasse, I don't feel he was right to be cast anywhere near this, or any horror film for that matter. Whether or not it's a horror/comedy, is all I think about when he's on screen is him as McLovin from Superbad. He fits the atmosphere in films such as Kick-Ass, but it simply didn't work here. It has nothing to do with his acting, he's fine here, but he just doesn't fit the horror atmosphere. Otherwise, this group of actors deliver despite the fact that they're representing a poor script.

No matter how great CGI gets, I continue to prefer practical effects. Those seen in older horror films may sometimes seem a bit cheesy, but I much prefer that over a video game-esque look. Fright Night (2011) has it share of blood, but it's digitalized blood. It was actually utilized quite well for the majority of the film. However, it becomes horrid in the final act. It sticks out like a sore thumb and left me hoping that a mainstream horror will use practical effects sometime soon. My biggest problem with the visuals here is that director Craig Gillespie put too much into making this 3D. A lot of objects fly out towards the screen and it comes off as very cheesy and poorly done. I'm glad I saw this in 2D. The audio that comes along with the movie is a completely different story. Fright Night (2011) is an immersive experience. Each speaker is used to its full potential. Every sound effect and scene of dialogue comes through highly detailed. This is a very high quality track that will impress audiences.

I suppose that my hunch was correct regarding the remake of Fright Night. I gave it a fair chance and went into it with an open mind. The screenplay is lackluster at every angle you look at it from. The special effects are hit-or-miss, especially bad in the final act of the film. The greatest element of this film is the decent acting, but this couldn't be used to its full potential due to the dialogue. Fortunately, the movie isn't boring and does a good job of being entertaining enough. However, I don't see myself going back and watching this as it's quite forgettable. Those who are fans of the vampire sub-genre should stick with the original Fright Night or 30 Days of Night. While they're both very different, they both still dominate this remake. Fright Night (2011) isn't very good. It's worth a rental at best.

My Rating = Two Stars

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