Y'know I've said before that there are many things that I can forgive in a vampire movie, but the one thing I can't is it being boring? Right, well walk into this movie about 35 mins in, the only things you need to know are these:
- The lead is Charlie (Anton Yelchin), he used to go to conventions and wear costumes and be friends with Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Now he's cool and has a girlfriend called Amy (Imogen Poots).
- Jerry (Colin Farrell) lives next door and Charlie thinks Jerry is a vampire.
- Jerry just invited Charlie's neighbour (a gogo dancer) in for a beer.
Okay, so now I'm going to tell you something nice about this movie :). There are no spoilers in the first half of the review, I'll put a big marker up to let you know when I'm going into details so you can stop reading if you don't want to know.
The Best Things About This Movie
#1 That's a really easy one - David Tennant. When he finally comes into the movie it improves amazingly and somehow he seems to up the game of the rest of the cast as well as being brilliant himself. His Peter Vincent is funny, intriguing and deeper than you expect, as well as being pretty. DT makes Colin Farrell look like a log some one carved fangs on.
#2The special effects that aren't done for the 3D. For anyone who is a fan of the original Fright Night (truly brilliant film, go see it on DVD) the effects are a modern homage and bring out all the great effects in the original and improve on them. The fangs, the eyes, the explosive vampires, it's all there. I will go into more detail in the spoiler section so I can rave about some of the details.
The 2nd Worst Bit Other than the First 30 mins
The 3D! Save me from the 3D.
James McAvoy (no he's not in this movie, I just like bringing him up whenever possible) is so right about 3D when he says it's a "waste of money" - 3D is also a waste of cinematography and time that could have been spent improving the plot rather than throwing things out of the screen.
Fright Night is a vampire movie, why, oh why, oh why does a vampire movie need 3D? It's not as if it's even set in a huge Transylvania castle that would look stunning in 3D (if it had actually been designed for it). It's set in Las Vegas - a dessert - flat - boring - nothing interesting to have in 3D - a suburb in Las Vegas at that.
Avatar did it right, the 3D is there to enhance the scenery not provide cheap tricks, Fright Night did it oh so very wrong: Vampires exploding in sunlight, might have been cool if I'd actually been able to see it properly; blood splurting from wounds, cheesy, but fun if you can see it; ye olde crossbow bolt coming out of the screen - please! really? *bangs head on table*.
If it's showing in 2D near you, see it that way, the 3D actually detracts from the movie. Our Cineworld was only showing it in 3D so we had no choice.
Okay, so from about 35 mins in Frigth Night picks up quite nicely. It's not the greatest vampire movie I've ever seen and there are plot holes big enough to take a jumbo jet, but it's entertaining.
Let's go back to the effects for a little bit. I had two favourite parts as far as the effects went.
The first was the scene where Jerry has chased Charlie, Charlie's mom and Amy out of the house and they are on the road. This is also the part where Chris Sarandon (the original Jerry Dandridge) has his cameo. The way they made up Colin Farrell was superb and in this scene he showed that he's actually an actor - he did several moves that were Jerry from the original movie and it was brilliant.
My other fav effects moment was their recreation of the iconic vampiric Amy. Click here to see a picture of the original http://cdn.screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/FrightNight-Amy.jpg. They updated the look to current techniques, but were still faithful and it was brilliant. Unfortunately I can only find an image of the begging of the new one, but here it is http://www.awn.com/files/imagepicker/35/frightnight01_Amy.jpg - she's in mid transformation at this point.
Let's compare the two movies. The original Jerry is sexy, creepy and threatening all at the same time. Unfortunately Colin Farrell's Jerry is kind of uninteresting until the last few scenes or when he's playing Chris Sarandon. His ultimate death scene is also kind of not great - again the fault of the 3D I think. He's not horribly bad or anything, just not where near as good as his preprocessor.
Now Charlie, I love William Ragsdale and his Charlie is utterly brilliant in Fright Night 1 and 2, he will forever be my fav of the two, but Anton Yelchin did a pretty good job. He was cute and once he got his head out of his arse and realised there was a vampire living next door to him he did a really good job. His scene with Peter Vincent after Jerry takes Amy was fantastically strong and his struggle with the vampiric Amy was superb.
The original Ed is a sad, tragic character. The scene where Jerry confronts him and literally talks him into becoming a vampire, so much so that he walks into the embrace is brilliant cinema. The new Ed is mostly annoying, knows everything, drops lines that I'm pretty sure were supposed to be funny and his scene with Jerry is just, oh, guess he's dead now then. When he shows up as a vampire he's not scary or a sympathetic character and I for one was kind of glad when Charlie finished him off. He was stuck between being comic relief and a real character and I think they completely failed with him.
Onto the new Amy ... well she's nowhere near as pathetic as the original, but then Amy was there for two reasons in the 80's movie, to be worried about Charlie and to be used as bait. In the new one she was more kick ass, which is perfectly natural, and she was an okay side character. She was not stunning, but her scene when Jerry takes her is brilliant and she did really well as an actual vampire. Rob was quick to observe that apparently becoming a vampire automatically gives you bigger boobs - wasn't paying that much attention myself ;)
Okay, finally a comparison of my fav character from the new movie, Peter Vincent. I love Roddy McDowall's Peter, middle aged, out to make a quick buck, hung up on his past triumphs in film who seeks to trick Charlie into thinking Jerry isn't a vampire, but then is terribly worried about the young people even if he is a bit of a coward when he realises the truth. However, I love David Tennant's Peter more. David is undeniably one of the most charismatic actors around today and he brings it all to Peter. The final fight scenes with him and Charlie are magnificent and when he lays one on Charlie right on the lips at the end - brilliant!
For all my slash friends, Peter/Charlie is THE pairing, totally has to be.
There was one character missing from the new movie, however, and I think it was a crying shame. The apparently perfectly normal guy who guarded Jerry during the day and then turned out to be a monster who melted when shot was brilliant in the original. It also gave some very possible homoerotic undertones that added depth. He should not have been cut out and he would have made Jerry a hell of a lot more interesting.
So enough about characters, there was a really good part to the film and that was the final scenes. The ending of the movie was spectacular, although not entirely logical :). I am a sucker for where the hero goes from victim to badass and the new Fright Night did is very well. The whole vampire making a clan of vamps made me ask more question than the film bothered to answer, but they made for some cool action scenes. More Salem's Lot than Fright Night really :). Also what's not to love about a pile of vampires nibbling on David Tennant?
So to sum it up:
- Takes about 35 mins to get anywhere, but heats up after that.
- Nowhere near as good as the original, but not bad as a vampire movie in its own right apart from the start.
- It being in 3D sucks and not in a good way.
Soph wrote a review of it as well over here: http://thwax.livejournal.com/69631.html