Fright Night/ 2011
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Tennant
The Plot: A high-school kid, (Yelchin) and his mom, (Collette) have their secluded – oddly overpopulated – plot of Vegas suburbia invaded by a hunky vampire. (Farrell – playing Count Hunkula) When local teens and strippers start turning up missing it’s up to a small band of vampire killers to bring the bloodthirsty stud to justice.
The Good: Romance is dead.
When you look around at what passes for popular vampire entertainment anymore (True Blood, Twilight – whatever the hell that Beastly was…) it’s nice to finally catch a vampire movie that not only believes in that maxim – but revels in its own festering raunch like it’s a pool of Pierre-Jouet.
This modern remake of Fright Night might just be here to remind us all that vampires – and their movies – can be a good time if you let them be. Dracula doesn’t have to be a brooding, reclusive, monument of infinity and alienation. He can bang go-go dancers, steal your girlfriend away from you, and make moves on your mom while circumventing deadly sunbeams, crucifixes, and wooden stakes.
Not that I’m going to complain about modern movies like Let Me In and 30 Days of Night – each of those films brought something all its own to this brand of horror entertainment. But there’s absolutely no sex appeal in both those films. In everything else released in this trendy climate of pop-vamp-culture – there’s too much sex appeal. Or at least an obsessive, acne-scarred-pubescent fascination with the stuff.
Fright Night’s lead vampire Jerry is a hustler – a stud horse without fences or the barricades of time and morality to keep him reigned in. He exists to steal your girlfriend and kill your high school buddies – and under normal circumstances, he usually gets away with it. While the current trend in post-modern vampirism is to hold on to your dark gift of “turning” like its gold bullion, or even better – the AIDS virus – Jerry spreads his around like common herpes.
You want to be a vampire? Here’s a scorching case of Satan’s herpes bloodsucker… now crawl under the house and be quiet.
Which is pretty much the attitude of this Fright Night and the one 26 years before it. The devil may care – but this vampire movie doesn’t. And if it manages to piss off leagues of Fanpires (want to name your Twilight fan-community something that will have every breathing man, woman, and child giggling into their shirt sleeves – look no further than Fanpires) and Criss Angel fans the better for us out here in the real world right?
Kudos to Colin Farrell for climbing in the ring and having the time of his life beating the pulp out of modern vampire convention. It’s nice to see a major film talent let his hair down and get his hands grubby in something that doesn’t have Oscar-buzz wafting off the film trailer. Farrell obviously had a good time making this movie – his mood’s contagious.
As long as we’re handing out kudo-cards… let’s not forget the crack team of A-list actors that also signed on to make – what probably should have been tasteless, re-heated leftovers from the Regan-era – something worth revamping. (knew I could get that term jammed into this review somewhere)
Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, (hot girl/not-so-hot name) are all in this horror remake to bring a little hint of sophistication into a world that – until now – was almost exclusively void of the stuff.
It was a fun movie 26 years ago – it’s a better one now because of the players brought in to recreate it.
As for the 3D in the film…?
3D’s kitsch. It was kitsch back in the fifties, the eighties, and I know that the current trend is that it could be (expensive) art of some hypnagogic (third) dimension. But look around next time you’re at one of these things and tell me that 3D glasses are the new window into the soul. They’re kooky. Which is maybe why we’re all on board to put a pair on and go to the movies again.
Fright Night doesn’t use 3D as a gimmick to get traffic rolling into the theater – it abuses it as a gimmick. Fifties/eighties kitsch is back and crazier than ever. Blood, guts, crossbow bolts… expect a lot of things to come screaming off the movie screen and land right in your lap.
Which – along with the new Las Vegas setting for the story – completely fit the tone of the film.
The Bad: Keira Knightley. The CleanFlicks cut of Chained Heat 2. This poor Chicago police officer. Fright Night 2011. What do all four have in common?
They’re all basically titless.
But unlike the other three examples I don’t think Fright Night is in as desperate need of a boob job. It’s just that I have this one, perfectly sustained memory from the original Fright Night of Prince Humperdinck taking the top off of some buxom 80’s babe in front of his bedroom window. And the two boobies that fell out of her open blouse… well boys, I never forgot ye.
The Ugly: Who knew back in 1981 that someday the future-people of 2011 would be walking into these mammoth modern movie stadiums – with digital picture, sound, and 3D technology – and the electronic marquees above them would be splattered with film titles like: Conan the Barbarian. The Smurfs. Arthur. Fright Night. And soon – Footloose and The Thing…?
Talk about heartbreaking – in 30 years you mean to tell me that we didn’t go anywhere???
The Verdict: Fright Night’s a monster movie – and a pretty gawdamn good one. Setting the film in Las Vegas was a stroke of genius. Vegas is all about tacky, crass entertainment all dolled-up for a night on the town – so is Fright Night.
This is a vamp revamp with some teeth to it. (there’s that bloody term again…)