Suspicious Minds: Old school remake of Fright Night exposes its humorous fangs | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Suspicious Minds: Old school remake of Fright Night exposes its humorous fangs

Fright Night isn't as scary as the '80s original.


Being on vacation can change the way you think. After being nestled in the tiny comfortable city of Cianciana, Sicily for a week, all calm, relaxed and really hot, a chance to take an hour bus ride to visit the ruins of Agrigento sounded cool. But it was even hotter there so the opportunity to grab a gelato and take in the cinema at the main piazza sounded even better than half-destroyed ancient Greek columns. I was more than willing to watch Horrible Bosses in Italian, if not for the experience, then for the air-conditioned escape from the 110-degree heat wave that was bearing down. Alas, this was not to be. The movie's running time overlapped with the bus ride back. So in anticipation of my next movie review, I rifled through the upcoming shows in an internet café and came upon Fright Night. I fired off a trans-continental missive to my editor and got the green light for the 2011 remake of the 1985 horror flick that seems to run on every other channel in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

Fright Night is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, but it has some funny problems and I think that's its point. The easy-to-overlook inconsistencies surrounding this film can be put aside. Just go with the goofy flow of this flick that relies on part cheese, part ridiculous and, well, part fright.

Beginning with an odd shot of tract homes in Las Vegas, Fright Night chucks us right into the clichéd world of teen horror movie suburbia. The skeletal plot revolves around missing bodies, claustrophobic bored people and a new neighbor who could be a vampire. Vegas is, apparently, the perfect setting for a neighborhood vampire's nocturnal existence. The 1985 flick is only marginally redone and mostly updated with things like eBay references and contemporary gizmos called cell phones.

At first I thought Fright Night would be yet another installment of "why 3D?" but soon the camera work and images get their gears meshing and it all starts to click. And then about half way in there is a huge 3D surprise death scene payoff. Mostly though, we see a a lot of blown-to-smithereens vampire fragments that you want to swat away from your eyes. Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl, Mr. Woodcock) proves again his warped sense of humor while nabbing cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe (New Moon, Eclipse) to add more irony to the mix.

In this barrage of "it's so freaking cool to be a vampire" films and books, it was refreshing to see a real old-school vampire tale fairly reverent to the original flick. This wave of vampire movies surely must come to an end and, thankfully, there is even a Twilight putdown in this flick. No boy-toy glitter or teen-hunk taking off of shirts here.

You can't fault Colin Farrell for taking this role. The chameleon actor does something different every time he's on screen. The TV vampire hunter, (originally by hammy Roddy McDowell) Peter Vincent, (name coupling of horror icons Peter Cushing and Vincent Price) is played this time by British television actor David Tennant with a boozy combination of David Frost meets Chris Angel. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Super Bad, Kick-Ass) is growing up, but still embodies the super nerd. Anton Yelchin and Brit Imogen Poots (these two should seriously consider name changes) fare well together as the nerd scores hot-chick teen lovebirds. And Toni Collette does a "we've-seen-this-all-before" hip mom routine.

Fright Night, while better than expected, is not great. It would be easy to pick on this film, but with the adequate smattering of sex, gore, suspense and humor, the film is worth the fun it provides. The best part by far was just being at the movies again, and even though Bend hasn't reached the oven baking heat of Agrigento, it sure was nice to sit in an air-conditioned theater.

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