Sunday, October 9, 2011

What a fright

J-Man showed me the original a while back.  The trailer for this one looked not half-bad, so I was curious to see it, even though it was a remake.  I didn't pay money to see it though, which in retrospect, was probably a good thing...

So, for those of you who are fans of the original, you won't be surprised to read that it's way better than this remake?  Why?  Simple.  The first one was more subtle, more clever, more charming.  Nothing embodies that more than Chris Sarandon, the original Jerry.  He was suave, he was charismatic.  When he seduced Amanda Bearse in the infamous club scene, you can believe despite the fact she's a virgin and won't even sleep with her boyfriend, Sarandon could somehow woo her out of her clothes, which he basically does, before turning her (temporarily) into a vampire.  In this version of the film, they're in the club, but Colin Farrell just picks Amy up and slings her over his shoulder like a caveman, there is a brief, very lame attempt at a seduction on his part.  

That's the problem with this film, though.  It just takes all the elements from the first film and continuously slams you over the head with it.  Farrell is a lot more overtly menacing as Jerry than Sarandon was, but because he so damned creepy, when Charley is telling his friends and Mom that Jerry's a vampire, they would at least think there's something wrong with the guy.  Another problem is, there's something wrong with almost everyone in the movie.  Charley at the beginning doesn't talk to Ed because he figures Amy, his girlfriend won't talk to him if he's friends with Ed because Ed is a huge nerd...which Charley is too, by the way.  Jerry is just a sleazy, creepy player who attracts women with his bad-boy persona.  Amy, she doesn't really do anything wrong, but you can sort of sense she can be a bitch if she needs to.  Peter Vincent is a huge disappointment, he's a drunken, womanizing, cowardly jackass.  It's hard to like any of the main characters, especially in the first twenty or so minutes in the film. 

That's not to say there isn't some good parts of the film.  The pacing is pretty good, there's a lot of stalking by Jerry on Charley and Amy and it doesn't take long for things to get moving, it's already established that Jerry is a vampire fifteen minutes into the film.  Peter Vincent is an actual occult student who knows lore about vampires and he has all sorts of cool artifacts and what-not in his penthouse.  I find Imogen Poots a lot more attractive as Amy than Amanda Bearse.  Yup, I'm reaching now, because there isn't a lot going for the film, the best thing I can say about it is it's pretty relentless in it's pace.  It's pretty evident that they missed a lot about what made the first film so good, though. 

So, that's Fright Night.  It's a straight vampire movie missing all of the charm of the first film.  It was sort of neat for Charley to be this horror movie fan and he gets to fight an actual vampire with Peter Vincent, whose show he watches on late-night television.  This Charley is a bland dweeb who is just lucky he got a girlfriend as hot as Amy, there's nothing that really stands out about him.  At the end of the day, if you can't cheer for the hero, you have to cheer for the villain, but he's nowhere as good as the original, either.  So, do yourself a favour, don't bother with this one and just pop in the original. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

- Stephenstein

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