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FRIGHT NIGHT
3D Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette
Director: Craig Gillespie
Audio: DTS HD 7.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Studio: Dreamworks
Features: See Review
Length: 106 Minutes
Release Date: December 13, 2011

There's a lot of bad people out there, Charlie...”

Film ***

The 80s was a great time for horror movies. Even if you're too young to have experienced the decade first hand, all the evidence you need is in the continuing rollout of remakes of scream classics from those years. The Thing, April Fool's Day, A Nightmare on Elm Street and more have all gotten updates for the new millennium.

Fright Night was not a particularly great film, but it certainly had its fans, so it's not surprising that Hollywood would find a way to resurrect it for younger audiences. It's a fun vampire tale, but this vampire is no Bill Compton or Edward Cullen.

Yes, kids, once upon a time, vampires were bad guys. I know it's hard to believe that of undead beings who live on human blood, but there it is. Jerry (Farrell) is the handsome daytime sleeper, who lives next door to Charlie (Yelchin), a one-time geek who is trying to make good in life, and getting some help from a hot girlfriend Amy (Poots).

They live in a Vegas suburb out in the desert. It's a place where it's not uncommon for folks to work all night and sleep all day. That's not an issue. What is an issue is how Charlie's homeroom roll call seems to be getting smaller day by day.

He stumbles on Jerry's secret one night, and is determined to protect his girl and his mom (Collette) from the vampire's unwelcome advances. But you've read the books and seen the movies, right? Vampires aren't easy to get rid of.

He enlists the help of Peter Vincent (Tennant), a Vegas vampire killer who does most of his deeds under nightclub lights, but does seem to have a history and knowledge of these supernatural beings. It turns out, Jerry is not merely killing the townfolk, but turning them one by one, meaning the group is not only facing death at every turn, but is seriously outnumbered as well.

The climactic showdown is fun and furious. Jerry is wickedly charming and resourceful...for example, if you won't invite him into your house, he burns the house down. No house, no invitation needed. The stakes (pun intended) will indeed be high.

I'm not a fan of seeing all my childhood horror staples rolled out by modern studios who think they can do better. Many of the 80s films were low budget, but effective, and did the job in keeping us up at night. I didn't find this take on Fright Night particularly scary, but the film may have an uphill battle, aimed at kids who have been raised on the notion that vampires are our friends. Most wouldn't think to run from Jerry. They'd probably just offer him a Blood Light and call it a day.

Still, there was much fun to be had here, and the cast is terrific. Colin Farrell is an actor with credibility, so his presence immediately makes a film like this harder to dismiss. I think it's safe to say he had a bit of fun sinking his teeth into this role.

It may not scare, but Fright Night still offers a welcome and entertaining diversion.

Video **1/2

The cinematography in this movie is somewhat poor...it's not the fault of the disc, but many of the dark scenes are almost sans definition. There is no grain, but it's hard to tell what you're looking at a lot of the times, and the darkness of 3D glasses don't help much. Overall, this is one of the less effective uses of the technology I've seen. Much of the movie remains flat, but when it comes to multi-dimensional life, there is some fun to be had. But even many daytime shots are tainted by flares on the lens that are even more distracting in 3D. Were there no dailies examined during this shoot?

Audio ***1/2

DTS HD 7.1 is good to horror films, and this one track is lively and dynamic, and saves the goods for the big scenes that opens up on all channels and keeps you right in the madness and mayhem. High marks.

Features **1/2

No commentary, but on the 2D Blu-ray disc you get some bloopers, a look at the “Squid Man” video made by Charlie and friends in their youth, a featurette on Peter Vincent, a music video by Kid Cudi, and a “How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie Guide”. A third disc contains a DVD version and digital copy.

Summary:

Welcome to Fright Night in 3D. This 80s favorite may not have the scares, but definitely has the fun factor in its favor.

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