Fright Night (2011) tells the story of former high school nerd and current cool kid, Charley (Anton Yelchin). You can tell that he's a cool kid, because he has a hot girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots) and the guys he hangs out with are douchebags. Charley wasn't always this cool, though; not even two years ago, he was making his own sci-fi/fantasy-inspired armor and goofing around with the school's biggest dork, Ed (the perpetually nerdy Christopher Mintz-Plasse). When Ed comes to Charley with the news that a suspicious amount of their classmates have vanished, Charley blows him off. After all, he's a cool kid. When Ed elaborates, presenting an argument that the disappearances center around Charley's neighbor's house, Charley ignores him. When Ed outright states that Charley's neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell), is a vampire, that's when things start to get interesting. Because Jerry is a vampire, and he is responsible for all the disappearances. What do you do when your next-door neighbor is a blood-sucking monster?
|A sexy blood-sucking monster who...loves fruit?|
Well, I suppose you would want to move out and maybe rent out your place to a stranger. But what kind of a horror movie would that make?
Aside from the fact that the supposedly teenage actors are all in their twenties, I liked the cast. Anton Yelchin is fine as the not-as-cool-as-he-pretends-to-be lead character; he's not amazing or anything, but his job is to stand in contrast to the bad guy, which he does pretty well. It helps that Colin Farrell turned in a pretty awesome vampire performance. I'm usually confused when vampires are portrayed as seductive and sexy --- and this is most vampire movies, not just the new wave of teen flicks --- but Farrell felt dangerous and sleazy every second he was on camera. He's just that perfect blend of sex and violence; while not my favorite style of vampire (I prefer the monstrous Nosferatu-types), Farrell might be the best update to the classic Dracula vampire I have seen in a long while.
|I love when evil personified just seems mildly annoyed|
|Whisper softly in his ear: "Poooooots"|
|Is that the werewolf from Underworld?|
I think what I liked best about Fright Night was the fact that it didn't waste my time. A kid thinks his neighbor is a vampire, the audience realizes he's right, and there is no time wasted on him trying to convince his mother, girlfriend or the police. That is brilliant! Instead of pussyfooting around for a half-hour, asking "Why won't anyone believe my insane theory?", we are instead treated to Jerry the Vampire immediately opting to attack Charley and his family. No muss, no fuss. And I loved the general attitude Jerry has; he doesn't care about having his secret revealed, he's a killing machine that solves his problems with murder.
|...and he gets turned on by death. Makes sense.|
There is one glaring flaw in Fright Night, though: the vampires. While Colin Farrell is pretty great, the CGI used to make him and his vampire minions vamp out was awful. The filmmakers toy with the notion of the vamps being literal monsters --- as in, only vaguely humanoid --- but they don't commit to it, and it is never important in the story. Instead, we are given scenes with Colin Farrell's head bulging and cracking as he develops a Predator-style food hole for reasons I can't fathom. The vampires are at their best when they are being seductive or surprisingly scary, not when they are doing a bad impression of Resident Evil creatures. Oh, and the twist with David Tennant's character was pretty lame. I would have preferred it if the world wasn't that small, after all.
|Guns don't kill people. Vampires do. And guns...kill vampires...?|