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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

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Readers Blog: Schmoo On The Movies

10 Things About Fright Night

3791-frightnightcolinfarrell

I saw the Fright Night remake about a week back and I just haven't been able to muster the enthusiasm to write a full-fledged review. What does that say about the film? It's not all bad. The reviews I like writing most are for the movies that fall on the extreme ends of my "like" "dislike" spectrum, or for the films that either exceed or fall short of my expectations. Fright Night is an okay movie, which is pretty much what I expected, but that doesn't mean I don't have anything to say about it. So, here's 5 things I liked about the film and 5 things I didn't.

What's to like?

1. Colin Farrel. I've always thought Farrel's abilities were underappreciated because of his pretty-boy exterior. Here, he uses both to his advantage. As Jerry, the neighborhood vampire, Farrel is good at being scary and threatening while also oozing his trademark charisma and sex appeal, especially during some rather uncomfortable exchanges with Yelchin's Charley Brewster.

2. It manages to be legitimately suspenseful at times.

3. The High School Drama. Anton Yelchin doesn't really pull out any new tricks in this film. He's a talented actor, but he certainly has a style about him (the kind of trademark style that actors like Michael Cera or Jesse Eisenberg catch flack for) and that doesn't change here. His character is well-developed though and he actually seems like a high-schooler, instead of some 25-year-old playing a teenager. His drama with his girlfriend and his former best-friend seem more genuine this way.

4. The Showdown. While I had issues with some of the build-up, the actually showdown between Charley and Jerry is pretty exciting. The way he busts in clad in vampire-proof gear brandishing a crossbow is pretty badass.

5. Solid as a remake. Remakes are a target of derision by most serious movie-goers and are often met with intense scrutiny. This one is different enough and decent enough to (likely) not piss off too many fans of the original. My assessment: it stands on its own legs.

What not to like?

6. Christopher Mintz-Plasse. What sets Mintz-Plasse apart from his contemporaries (like Yelchin and Eisenberg) is that he actually is cast to type. He's always an annoying nerd. As a vampire, he's even more annoying.

7. Peter Vincent. The trouble here isn't Tennant, who performs just fine, it's the utilization of the character, who is hardly featured. Cliches ensue - no, he won't get involved...still won't get involved...shows up for back-up during the showdown.

8. Length. The film runs close to two hours, but it doesn't feel like it. Normally, people would site that as a good thing - in this it's not, especially considering I had some issues with the story's development. If it were a great film, I'd understand, but this left me wondering "what did they do with all that time they had?'. Some of the suspense scenes, while effective, were a tad overlong.

9. Lack of build-up. I alluded to this above and by it I mean there wasn't a sufficient lead-in to Jerry's vampire reveal. Pretty much off the bat Charley knows that Jerry is a vampire and then things go to shit. I understand that they were trying to do away with the whole "nobody believes me" cliche, but there could have been a little of that before Jerry starts tearing up the neighborhood, blowing up houses. Jerry pretty much terrorizes Charley throughout the entire film and Charley finally goes after him at the end. I would have liked to see Charley attempt to go after Jerry a few more times during the film and fail.

10. 3D. Post-conversion 3D sucks and that's no different here. The 3D blood-spattering and ash clouds were lame and distracting and there were plenty of superfluous 3D moments as well, like 3D money being thrown around in a club.

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