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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Fright Night 3D

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3_Chicks_Small Judy Thorburn

Las Vegas Round The Clock -
Women's Film Critic Circle -
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Fright Night 3D

Fright Night is set in a Las Vegas suburb (though the neighborhood scenes were actually filmed in Albuquerque) and is centered around a vampire. What a perfect match, since Sin City is known as a town where many of its residents work late night shifts on the Strip and then sleep all day. With its reputation for being a transient city it is not unusual for someone to be there today and gone tomorrow. There could not be a better place for a monstrous creature of the night to fit in, feel right at home, and go about his nasty business.

Colin Farrell digs his teeth (literally) into the role of Jerry, a mysterious handsome stranger that moves into the house next door from Charlie Brewster (likeable, sweet faced Anton Yeltchin), a high school student who lives with his divorced mother, Jane (an underused Toni Collette). Mom questions why such a hunk is still single, and has no idea what really lurks behind that hunky least at first.

Soon, one by one, several of Charlie's fellow classmates go missing and his nerdy former best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, “Superbad”), has more than a clue who is responsible. Ed's been following and keeping an eye on Jerry, knows that he is a vampire and tries to convince Charlie. Of course, Charlie doesn't take him seriously until it is too late.

Charlie has other things on his mind, like trying to fit in with the “cool” guys and spending time with his hot new girlfriend (Imogen Poots). That is, until Ed becomes yet another of Jerry's victims, and Charlie finds video evidence on Ed's computer that points to the fact that Ed was telling the truth.

So what is this former geek, turned resourceful teen to do? It just so happens there is this  Criss Angel type illusionist named Peter Vincent (David Tennant, of BBC's “Dr. Who”, channelling Russell Brand) headlining at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino,  who according to his website, claims to be an expert on vampires and the occult. Charlie manages to find a way to meet Vincent and enlist his help in battling the leader of the undead who, on a daily basis, is turning humans into blood sucking creatures like himself. As it turns out Vincent is a drunken fraud, but he does offer some pertinent information about vampires and a backstory of his own related to those blood sucking monsters. Luckily, as a collector of ancient artifacts Vincent is armed with several items that come in handy such as a goblet filled with holy water, crucifixes, stakes and other useful weapons to fight off vampires. Plus, there is always a vampire's worst nightmare, sunlight, which definitely does the trick.

Fright Night is an updated remake of the original 1985 comedy horror classic that starred Chris Sarandon who shows up in a cameo role this go around. Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) working from Marti Noxon's (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) screenplay delivers a  mix of horror, suspense and a bit of humor.  There are a few jump out of your seat scary moments, an exciting highway chase scene, and a couple of cool 3D effects but not enough to warrant dishing out the extra bucks.

The actors all play it straight, although Tennant hams it up and is occasionally over the top.  The main draw is the extremely charismatic Colin Farrell who uses his smoldering good looks and bad boy sex appeal to his advantage and delivers a killer performance. While a vampire needs to be invited in to satisfy his hunger, who wouldn't be seduced by Farrell's vampire with his magnetic charm, unaware of the deadly monster brewing beneath that fake outer shell. He had me at hello!

Is Farrell reason enough to see Fright Night?  That depends on your expectations. The movie doesn't offer anything new to the horror genre, but it is fun and entertaining enough.  In other words,  it doesn't suck.

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