Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Fright Night (2011)
Here is my bottom line on remakes: if you're going to be behind the production of one, at the very least, you have to capture the spirit and heart of the original. Despite some solid performances, Fright Night (2011) doesn't do that. And as a result, in my humble opinion, it's a complete dud.
Teenager Charley Brewster and his mom live in the suburbs of Las Vegas. Charley is your average teenage kid and despite the temptations of the City of Sin, he's by all accounts a pretty good kid. He's well known and liked and he has a beautiful girlfriend to boot. Much to the chagrin of his former buddy Ed, he's popular and runs with the cool kids. He has no time for make believe and Dungeons and Dragons bullshit anymore.
Charley, his mom and his girlfriend meet his newly moved in neighbor one day, a good looking man named Jerry whom his mom is instantly hot in the pants for. He charms them all immediately and tentatively makes a date for drinks and get to know you chit chat over at his house some time soon.
Mom implores Charley to reconcile with his old buddy Ed. What has been disputed about or why they are at odds is never really explained but it's assumed that Charley's too cool for school attitude has something to do with it. Charley agrees to meet up with Ed at the house of a classmate who hasn't showed up to school for a few days. Ed proceeds to tell Charley that his neighbor is really a vampire and that he needs to be concerned for the safety of his household. Why or how Ed knows that Jerry is a vampire is also never explained. When Charley exits stage left due to the absurdity of it all, Jerry confronts Ed and we don't see Ed for the vast majority of the rest of the film.
So Charley gets a bit suspicious when Ed doesn't come to school one day and when Jerry comes knocking on his back door that night in order to borrow some beers for a hot date. Charley doesn't invite him into the house and makes his way to the refrigerator with the door wide open and all eyes on Jerry. When he hears screams in the house, he goes investigating and sure enough, discovers the truth about Jerry. This review is getting harder to write as I go along as, well, it's just 'blah.'
OK, so Charley doesn't know who else to turn to and seeks to the guidance and hopeful aide of one Mr. Peter Vincent, a Vegas performer who's supposedly an expert in the paranormal and supernatural. By far the best performance of the whole affair, as David Tennant plays a cross between Criss Angel and Russell Brand. After an initial reluctance, Mr. Vincent agrees to help. A standoff happens with a now damned Evil Ed and eventually, a final one (with some really absurd CGI) with Mr. Danridge. The. End.
Look, I'm not one of the bitter monkeys who instantly cries foul every time news of a remake occurs. That ship sailed a long time ago with me. I just kick back and accept the fact that they are going to get churned out. But as mentioned, the end product still has to have heart. The relationship between Ed and Charley was such an integral part of the first film and it's almost non-existent here. You can tell Farrell and Tennant really relished their roles but decent acting does not a good film make. Overall, Fright Night was a tougher remake because of the fact that the original was such a product of its time. Peter Vincent originally being a TV horror host and lamenting about slashers and how he was being run out of a job was just so indicative of the times. And the ironic thing is here was this vampire film that became a hit in the midst of all these Freddy's and Jason's of the world. This rendition of Fright Night makes a lame attempt to be relevant with a crack that Ed makes about Twilight.
Overall, this is one you can skip and not feel like you've missed anything. However, your mileage may vary. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
P.S. The fact that Fright Night (2011) pulls up as a first search result in IMDB when you type in 'Fright Night' is a fucking travesty.
Cortez the Killer