MPAA Rating: R
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Written by: Marti Noxon
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Tennant, Toni Collette
Studio: Dreamworks Pictures, Touchstone Entertainment
3D Blu-ray Rating:
Review by: Bill Jones
A remake of Tom Holland’s 1985 “my neighbor may be a vampire” flick, Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night may not be altogether necessary, but that doesn’t stop it from being a heck of a lot of fun. It offers just the right blend of scares, big moments, humor and performances to make it a standout in the genre.
Anton Yelchin (Like Crazy, Terminator Salvation) plays Charley Brewster, a suburban nerd of a teenager who somehow lands the school’s hot blonde Amy (Imogen Poots). Colin Farrell plays neighbor Jerry Dandridge who is quite possibly a vampire whose good looks are catching the attention of Charley’s mom, Jane (Toni Collette).
Meanwhile, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (AKA McLovin) plays Ed Thompson, an old friend of Charley’s who Charley has left behind with his nerdy past in an attempt to hang with the cool crowd. Coincidentally, Mintz-Plasse is the first to recognize there may be a vampire in the neighborhood, but no one else is willing to listen. And David Tenant (Doctor Who) plays Peter Vincent, a sort of Russell Brand meets Criss Angel television figure who may or may not be legit when it comes to his knowledge of vampires.
Knowing the cast is important, as aside from Collette (who offers a throwaway character) and Mintz-Plasse (who just seems out of place) it is the cast that truly drives the film, despite its few moments of gore and its few jump-out-of-the-screen 3D effects. Farrell is at the front of the pack, simply offering a fun yet believable take on the vampire next door. He’s got the looks and charm to pull off that aspect, but he’s also magnificent in a creepy way, most notably in a tense scene in which he tries to talk his way into the Brewster’s home (he has to be invited) and tries to play father figure to a Charley who is already starting to realize what’s up.
Moments like these are ultimately what make Fright Night. The style also helps. It is a film that finds ways to be funny without (most of the time) going over the top for the laughs; it simply finds the humor in the tropes of the genre. At the same time, it plays things just serious enough to give it some credibility. It’s not the best fright night around, nor is it the funniest, but when Fright Night hits its marks, it hits them well, and audiences will find themselves in for a fun ride.
The 3D Blu-ray
As mentioned with the film review, the 3D out-of-the-screen gags come only at select points and serve their purpose when they do. For the rest of the film, they are simply there to add some depth. All in all, it may be a little unnecessary, but it’s also done well enough that it doesn’t harm the film in any way. Fright Night is no Avatar when it comes to its visual effects (Got it, Matt Whitfield of Yahoo Movies on the back of the box?), but it’s also no The Last Airbender, and generally finds itself on the winning side of 3D.
The collection also contains a 2D version of the film on Blu-ray, with five deleted and extended scenes exclusive to the Blu-ray, though none of them offer anything that truly can’t be missed. The Blu-ray also contains a Peter Vincent feature that’s just an interview and some scenes from the film edited together (nothing special), a blooper reel, guide to making a “funny vampire movie” and Kid Cudi’s “No One Believes Me” music video. The only real gem of the bunch, though, is “Squid Man – Extended & Uncut,” a full version of an amateur movie the friends in the film made when they were younger.
They’re generally fun features that are in line with the type of fun this film offers, just nothing special. The set is completed by a DVD + Digital Copy disc. The 3D slipcase also offers fans a fun lenticular cover not available with the other versions. It’s a nice collection that will satisfy fans; it just doesn’t do anything above and beyond.
For more info, dreamworks.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the Blu-ray courtesy of the studio for review purposes.