Film Review: “Fright Night”

I’m on Team Jerry. Breaking Dawn is in serious trouble. Colin Farrell is mesmerizing and nasty. The 3D is terrific.

All vampires should be law-abiding citizens so they never hear a judge say: “Life, without the possibility of parole.” But not in Las Vegas, where missing students are as common as visiting strippers. With the transient nature of Las Vegas –where I happen to live – and the 24-hour casinos and hotels employment, people work nights and sleep in blacked-out houses all day long.

What a perfect place for a vampire to live and hunt!

Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) lives with his real estate agent mother Jane (Toni Collette) and is dating hot Amy Peterson (Imogen Poots) to the amazement of jock classmates. Charley has left behind his geek past and this has meant that his boyhood best friend, homely geek Ed Thompson (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), has become the victim of exclusion and bullying.
When a several classmates go missing, Ed tells Charley that his new next-door neighbor, Jerry Dandrige, is a vampire and he have had him under video surveillance. Then Ed goes missing. Charley finds Ed’s vampire notes and videos. He decides to see vampire-authority, Las Vegas Strip headliner magician and vampire authority, Peter Vincent (David Tennant).

Charley starts his own investigation of Jerry, who doesn’t seem disinclined to deny a thing. He’s above the law. He’s a force unto himself. And some of those silly vampire myths are dispelled – Jerry enjoys fruit, is not scared of crosses or the Holy Name of Jesus. In fact, he’s building a coven by turning strippers and students into his serfs.

With advice from Peter Vincent, Charley knows that only he can rid Las Vegas of a titular vampire, who happens to be incredibly sexy.
Peter Vincent is a fun character with a hot, insulting assistant, Ginger (Sandra Vergara). Farrell is fantastic – sexy, mean, nasty and seductive. And he understands the humor of it all.

The screenplay by Marti Noxon with story by Tom Holland (who also wrote and directed the original 1985 movie) is clever, up-to-date and brings interesting twists to the story. Jerry keeps victims as meals and turns some of his victims into vampires.

Directed by Craig Gillespie, the movie is frightening, clever and very entertaining. The 3D is terrific. Gillespie gives Farrell wide range to make Jerry a sexy dude with a seductive swagger. Jerry likes toying with Charley.

Mintz-Plasse has his big moment and its perfect – especially when he taps into his gay vampires urges.

There will be no “spoiler” here but the final showdown is great. I’m seeing FRIGHT NIGHT again and I want Jerry back. So will you.

This is a remake of the 1985 FRIGHT NIGHT. I have decided to ignore comparisons since you will be paying to see this movie) but it was not as funny, clever or nasty as this remake. How good is Farrell as Jerry? Well, Chris Sarandon (pictured) played Jerry Dandrige in the original and he lacked the determinism of Farrell’s Jerry. Siding with Jerry you might consider that he is merely misunderstood and needs counseling. Even when his true self is revealed, you like him too much to be judgmental. And that is the work of a perfect screenplay directed by a bold director and interpreted by a fine actor – get the audience to put aside logic and get on your side.

Member of Broadcast Film Critics Association: www.bfca.org/
Member of the Las Vegas Film Critics Society: www.lvfcs.org/
My weekly column, “The Devil’s Hammer,” is posted every Monday. http://www.fromthebalcony.com/editorials.php.
If you would like to be included on my private distribution list for a weekly preview, just email me at masauu@aol.com.
Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email. You can contact Victoria directly at masauu@aol.com.

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