Fright Night [2011]

I am Peter Vincent, Vampire Killer!

Being  child of the 80’s one of my favorite horror films of the time was the original Fright Night with Chris Sarandon, Amanda Bearse, William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall.  Like so many horror films of the 80s, it was campy, corny and comedic undertones.  I’ve always viewed this film as one of the best portrayals of the definitive 80s horror experience.  I was very dubious that any remake of this film could possibly do justice to such an iconic film.  The other night, I sat down at my Xbox and decided 480 Microsoft Points wasn’t going to break the bank, and rented it.  I was completely shocked at how well the movie was done.

The remake stars Colin Farrell as Jerry Dandridge, previously played by Chris Sarandon — who has a small cameo in the film.  It is no secret Colin Farrell is not a great actor in my opinion, but somehow he truly excelled in this reprised role.  In this version, he is masquerading as a construction worker in the Las Vegas suburbs.  What was interesting about the story, rewritten by Tom Holland, was how the recent housing issues in the Las Vegas are were woven in.  The sub-division featured in the story was completely isolated like so many other sub-divisions that were started and never finished after the market collapse — the perfect place for a solitary vampire to systematically convert the residents without drawing too much attention.

Anton Yelchin and Toni Collette do an outstanding job playing the Brewsters, keeping true to the spirit of the roles in the original movie.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse also does an admirable job as Evil Ed, though not nearly as creepy or detached as the original role played by Stephen Geoffreys.  The most interesting twist to the story is the way the Peter Vincent character was evolved.  In the original, Roddy McDowall played Peter Vincent as a has-been horror film actor, reminiscent of Peter Cushing from the Hammer House of Horror films.  Now, Peter Vincent is a Las Vegas illusionist, who reminds me of a british Criss Angel, played by David Tennant.

I caution you not to think of this so much as a remake as a “re-telling”.  Though the character names are the same, the film has a completely different feel.  It is much more sinister than the original, and though it has smatterings of comedic overtones, it truly is a horror film.  So if you’re looking for something other than “Twilight” or “True Blood” for your sanguine fix, this movie is absolutely worth the 3 dollars to rent.

Rated: R
Review: 3 Stars


30 Minutes or Less – Review

This weekend, I got a chance to see the movie “30 Minutes or Less” with Jesse Eisenberg.  The only real reason I watched this movie is that it was produced by the director of Zombieland, Ruben Fleischer.  In my opinion, Zombieland  is one of the best dark comedies of the last ten years.  However, the same cannot be said of this movie.

While it has its moments of amusement and hilarity, I can’t but feel as if the entire movie was thrown together.  The story is formulaic and overdone.  So many of the same elements you would find in any comedy.  Dead beat guy who has no direction in his life.  Guy trying to get girl who has direction in her life.  Guy thrust into a crime against his will.  Two bumbling criminals who have the tables turned on them.  Pretty much every crime comedy I’ve ever seen.

Be that as it may, it is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen.  Jesse Eisenberg plays the same awkward, self-deprecating character he always plays, and his role was less than remarkable.  He is outshined by Danny McBride (Pineapple Express and Land of the Lost) and Nick Swardson (Reno 911), who interact seamlessly and comfortably throughout the film. 

If you’re looking for something to watch, and you just aren’t finding anything, this movie will kill two hours and provide a few memorable laughs.  Go into it with low expectations and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  However, if you want something more fulfilling in this genre, I would suggest:

  • Pineapple Express
  • Strange Wilderness
  • Land of the Lost

Rated: R
Review: 2 Stars