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[Movie Review] Fright Night

Let’s go kill something!

A breath of fresh air. Evil vampires! Blood! David Tennant swearing! Written by Marti Nixon! Only thing missing is the boobs.

Seriously.

Let’s get this over with quick: I am not a devotee of the original Fright Night.

I missed out on the opportunity when over a friends house one night to watch movies the babysitter told us to turn around when lovely Irina Irvine appeared on screen. And, we all know what happened next.

So, with that brief brush with boobs we flash forward to the here and the now with a remake of Fright Night with Anton Yelchin as Charley Brewster living in Las Vegas with his mom, the realtor played by Toni Collette when a new neighbor moves in the form of Jerry played by Collin Ferrell.

Unfortunately, strange things are afoot at the Circle K when teenagers begin disappearing but Charley doesn’t care since he entranced with Amy played by Imogen Poots. Charley fluffs it off who doesn’t leave Las Vegas to go somewhere else, pfft, disappearances, people getting bitten at supermarkets, pfft, neighbors not casting images on video tape.

It isn’t until his estranged geek friend, Ed played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse warns him about Jerry is a vampire and if he was still a geek he’d know all this but it isn’t until Ed disappears that Charley takes things seriously.

The body count starts rising, the blood starts spraying and into the lair of Jerry we go. The movie does not attempt to be a big movie and that helps it. The whole, death has come to your little town sheriff-vibe is what the movie deals with instead of making the plot big and the characters small.

Super 8 and Fright Night both share the Spielbergian vibe of track houses and spookiness. Super 8’s era was a no brainer for it and Fight Nights pulls off many of the shots of neighbors and the kids playing is just enough to keep this film grounded in reality. Las Vegas being hit by the housing market bubble makes for a good idea with changing location from California to Nevada. The only downside to all this is once people start disappearing and or dead, the Police fallout is rather next to non-existant. Even the coda at the end wraps it up for the main characters but not much of anyone else hell, even an all knowing wink from the Police would have worked for me.

The 3-D shots we saw in 2-D are unfortunately self evident. And, really should not have been that self evident. All of this interrupts what should be a great scene as the heroes/heroines run and the Jerry the shark follows the blood in the water. The scene is a great because mom and Amy do actually help Charley with his problem instead of running away. And, while Amy becomes the damsel in distress for the last act of the movie she proved in previous scenes she could defend herself against Jerry given the right weapon.

The sparkly Vampire is not in this picture. Huzzah! Thank you Marti Nixon for putting the fangs back in! After 4 years of True Blood on the small screen it’s nice to see a Vampire actually actively picking off the neighborhood one at a time. The blood and guts were missed, the bones mending themselves and broken arms healing were nice to see. This movie felt like what Stephen Sommers Van Helsing should have been instead of an ungodly train wreck of titanic proportions.

Lastly, for those Doctor Who fans, David Tennant standing in for Roddy McDowell’s Peter Vincent has some baggage that unrolls throughout the film once he’s introduced quite nicely, no jarring flashbacks or long expositions. The character is probably the biggest switch from the old movie since Roddy’s character was old movie host and on his way out while Tennant is doing the whole Criss Angel angle which worked. He goes from douche to Vampire Slayer a bit quick but 106 minute movie some things you can ignore. It’s fun to watch Tennant act for the adults for a change, I missed much of the rest of his work on BBC.

For this being Craig Gillespie’s third feature (and after directing several episodes of Showtime’s United States of Tara), his directing worked for me and I can ignore the “lookit me” 3-D shots.

I hope there is a #2 because the group dynamic could be expanded upon and it’s not just the Doctor and Charley VS. Vampires, it’s the swearing, drinking, sexing, Doctor and Charley VS. Vampires.

Overall, good horror movie to see in the theater even if it is a reboot it’s a well thought out reboot that doesn’t handicap the bloodthirsty vampires.

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