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Craig Gillespie
Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco, Reid Ewing, Will Denton
Writing Credits:
Marti Noxon, Tom Holland (story and original film, Fright Night)

You can't run from evil when it lives next door.

A teenager suspects that his new neighbor is a vampire.

Box Office:
$30 million.
Opening Weekend
$8.114 million on 3114 screens.
Domestic Gross
$18.298 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Video Service
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 12/13/2011

• Five Deleted/Extended Scenes
• “Peter Vincent: Come Swim in My Mind” Featurette
• “The Official ‘How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie’ Guide” Featurette
• Bloopers
• Music Video
• “Squid Man: Extended and Uncut”
• Sneak Peeks
• Bonus DVD


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Fright Night [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 8, 2011)

Eventually the studios will run out of 1980s horror movies to remake – but not today. We get another addition to that catalog with 2011’s Fright Night, a reworking of the 1985 cult hit.

Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) lives outside of Las Vegas with his mother Jane (Toni Collette). When a hunky new neighbor named Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door, Charley’s nerdy childhood friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) suspects the outrageous: he thinks Jerry’s a vampire.

Though Charley wants nothing to do with his dorky former pal, Ed blackmails him: if Charley doesn’t explore the case of a missing classmate, Ed will upload geeky old videos onto the Internet and presumably scotch Charley’s romance with cool girl Amy (Imogen Poots). Eventually they cross paths with Jerry, and Ed’s beliefs prove true; Charley’s neighbor sucks blood to stay alive.

Eventually Charley accepts the truth as well, though too late for Ed, who succumbs to Jerry’s choppers. With nowhere else to go, Charley turns to Las Vegas illusionist Peter Vincent (David Tennant), an apparent expert in all things vampire. We follow Charley’s adventures as he attempts to rid the world of Jerry’s menace and keep himself and his loved ones alive.

Back in the mid-1980s, I saw the original and really liked it – enough to sustain a good three or four viewings over the span of a few years. However, I haven't seen it since the late 1980s, so I find it impossible to know what I’d think of it today. (Attempts to locate a rental copy of the 1985 version failed.)

If I remember correctly, one of the 1985 flick’s strengths came from the way that it melded horror and comedy. Oh, it still boasted some good scares, but it featured more humor than unusual for the genre – at least back then. No, horror-comedies weren’t non-existent before Fright Night, but the cross-pollination wasn’t as common as it is today.

Perhaps because we see so many movies now that blend genres, the 2011 Fright Night shoots more for horror than for comedy. It’s definitely more one-sided than its predecessor was – at least if my memories are correct.

As a horror flick, Fright Night works reasonably well. We get a few good set pieces and scares, plus some actual surprises. Still, it doesn't do a lot to separate itself from the crowded vampire genre. Back in 1985, vampire movies weren't a dime a dozen, so a 2011 flick in that genre needs something more unusual.

Which Fright Night doesn't really do. It's fairly good for what it is, but unlike Zombieland, for example, it doesn't do a lot to put its own stamp on the genre. It’s essentially a pretty standard horror effort without many twists.

That’s partly because the curveballs that made the original memorable have been co-opted over the decades. While “vampires in suburbia” were unusual 26 years ago, they’re commonplace now – hello, Twilight! And as I mentioned, the original’s melding of comedy and horror doesn’t seem as distinctive at this point in time.

So why remake Fright Night? I can’t think of much reason beyond the basic name recognition. Recycling old movies makes some economic sense, as they boast at least a minor pre-sold audience; I can’t say how many fans of the original went to see the remake, but I’m sure some of us did.

I thought the 2011 version managed a good balance between literal remake and the liberties it takes. Much of the basic template remains the same, so this isn’t something where the filmmakers just took the title and didn’t otherwise rework the material. However, the 2011 edition manages a decent variety of changes, so it doesn’t maintain slavish adherence to the source.

Do the alterations work? Yeah, they’re fine, though occasionally they feel like changes for the simple sake of change. For instance, the 1985 Peter Vincent was a washed-up TV show host, while here he’s a successful Vegas illusionist. Why make that jump? The original character was more interesting, though Tennant’s Russell Brand-style take on the role adds some fun.

To be fair, remakes find it tough to know how much to change and how much to leave alone, and they usually can’t win either way. I’ve seen comments from fans of the 1985 flick that griped about the alterations, but I guarantee if the remake didn’t do anything differently, they’d complain about that as well.

As far as horror remakes go, Fright Night seems like a middle of the pack offering. It doesn’t work as well as its predecessor – or at least it doesn’t live up to my memory of the earlier flick – but that doesn’t leave it without its own charms. While not as fun and distinctive as the original, the 2011 Fright Night turns into a generally enjoyable horror tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

Fright Night appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Expect an attractive presentation.

Sharpness looked great. Even the widest shows boasted fine clarity, as the image always remained well-defined and distinctive. I noticed no issues with jaggies or moiré effects, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also were absent, as the movie looked clean and fresh.

In terms of palette, the film opted for either an arid, semi-amber tone or a chilly, blue tint. This restricted overall broadness of the colors, but they looked fine within the limited range of hues. Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows looked clear and full. This was a consistently terrific transfer.

I thought the DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio of Fright Night worked fine. Much of the audio concentrated on music and general atmosphere. The score and songs displayed nice stereo presence, and the film conveyed a solid sense of place. The flick occasionally came to life for its action scenes. The movie didn’t include enough of these to make this a truly bold soundtrack, but when they occurred, they offered immersive material. Elements moved around the room well and meshed together to offer a good punch.

No issues with audio quality emerged. Speech remained crisp and concise, and music showed good range; the score and songs appeared full and vibrant. Effects worked well; those elements seemed lively and robust, with nice low-end response to add depth. With more action material on display, the mix would’ve gotten a higher rating, but as it stood, it earned a “B+”.

Only a handful of extras pop up here. A featurette called The Official “How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie” Guide lasts eight minutes, four seconds and provides notes from screenwriter Marni Noxon, director Craig Gillespie, producers Michael De Luca and Alison R. Rosenzweig, prosthetic makeup artist Howard Berger, prop master Ben Lowney, production designer Richard Bridgland, and actors Imogen Poots, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Toni Collette and Anton Yelchin. The show looks at cast, characters and performances, “vampire rules” and the film’s twists on the genre, makeup and effects, weapons, sets and music. “Guide” rips through its topics with alacrity and doesn’t dig into any with much substance. We get a few decent notes but don’t expect anything deep.

Five Deleted/Extended Scenes fill a total of four minutes, 51 seconds. We find “Ride to School” (0:41), “Neighborly” (1:14), “Once a Freak, Always a Freak” (1:30), “Midori and Kerosene” (0:42) and “Back at the Penthouse” (0:44). The first three offer some character exposition for Charley and his friends, while “Midori” adds a bit to the climax. “Penthouse” just expands the film’s denouement. None of these are bad scenes, but none would’ve made the film better.

A couple of elements briefly seen in the movie get lengthier depiction next. Peter Vincent: Come Swim in My Mind goes for two minutes, nine seconds, while Squid Man: Extended and Uncut occupies two minutes, 56 seconds. The former lets us view a full-length promo for Vincent's stage show, and the latter gives us the home video shot by Charley and his pals. Both are fun additions to the set.

A collection of Bloopers lasts three minutes, 23 seconds. It delivers a pretty standard package of silliness and mistakes, though it throws in a few ad-libs; they help make it occasionally amusing.

Finally, we get a music video for Kid Cuti’s “No One Believes Me”. It goes for five minutes, 21 seconds as it provides a Fright Night-themed mini-movie. It’s not the greatest song or video, but it’s more interesting than most – and at least it avoids the usual gratuitous shots from the film (though we do hear some soundbites).

The disc opens with ads for Real Steel, War Horse, and The Help. These also appear under Sneak Peeks. No trailer for Fright Night pops up on the Blu-ray.

A second platter provides a DVD Copy of Fright Night. This gives us a retail version of the disc, not a neutered version.

While not a great remake of an 80s cult hit, Fright Night does well enough for itself. Despite some ups and downs, it’s a reasonably satisfying horror tale. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and audio along with some minor supplements. This makes for a decent rental release.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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