Review: Fright Night
3 out of 5 stars
Fright Night is the latest in a long line of vampire movies to come out in the wake of the Twilight craze. It is similar to the 1985 cult film of the same name (which I haven't seen). The film gently pokes fun atTwilight while cashing in on the vampire mania the series renewed.
Fright Night is set in a Las Vegas suburb where people water their lawns, wash their cars, and let their kids play in the sprinklers, despite living in the middle of a desert. This is an interesting setting, which serves as more than a backdrop. The suburb is the perfect habitat for a vampire since one can live in a house with blacked-out windows without arising suspicion. (We're told that many people in this commuter town have blacked-out windows because they work on the Strip at night and sleep all day.)
The film stars Anton Yelchin (Terminator Salvation) as Charley Brewster, a nerdy guy whose girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots), is admittedly out of his league. His perfect life takes a turn for the worse when Jerry the vampire (Colin Farrell) moves in next door, and Charley's classmates and neighbors start to go missing.
Except for the suspicious Dumpster in his front yard, Jerry the vampire is a seemingly normal guy--he kicks back with a beer to watch TV and he has dead strippers in his closet. In addition to feeding on the living, he also eats apples, since that is what vampires like to eat judging by the cover of Twilight. Charley doesn't begin to suspect Jerry until his classmate and childhood friend who isn't cool enough for him anymore, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, McLovin from Superbad, playing pretty much the same role here), spots the warning signs of vampire activity.
Charley goes to Las Vegas to enlist the help of drunken vampire expert-extraordinaire Peter Vincent, whose name I assume to be a combination of Peter Cushing and Vincent Price. Peter reluctantly helps Charley stop Jerry the vampire.
Fright Night was an entertaining movie with a few laughs and a few thrills. However, it never quite found the right tone. It's not creepy enough to be a horror film, and it is not funny enough to be a satire. There are good special effects throughout. I especially liked the way the vampires exploded when they stepped out into the sunlight. (I was worried they would sparkle.) But the film was too dim in some scenes, making it hard to figure out what was happening on the screen. I don't think this was a problem with the projector or lenses, since I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes on the same screen just prior to this, and that film looked fine. I watched Fright Night in 2D, so I imagine these scenes would just be a confusing black blur in 3D.
Despite not finding the right tone, Fright Night was enjoyable and should appeal to its target audience. In the end, I found myself wondering if Century 21 paid for product placement in this film.