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Fright Night 3D(2011)
Senior Charley Brewster finally has it all -- he's running with the popular crowd and dating the hottest girl in high school. In fact, he's so cool he's even dissing his best friend Ed. But trouble arrives when an intriguing stranger Jerry moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there's something not quite right -- and everyone, including Charley's mom, doesn't notice. After witnessing...
For more about Fright Night 3D and the Fright Night 3D Blu-ray release, see Fright Night 3D Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 8, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writer: Marti Noxon
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell (I), David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
» See full cast & crew
Fright Night 3D Blu-ray Review
Where did the movie go? It's so dark in here...
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 8, 2011
That guy, your neighbor? Yeah, he's a vampire, man.
The best way to describe Fright Night in five words or less would be to call it "Disturbia meets Vampire movies," and that's by no means an oversimplification. The plot follows a suspicious suburban teen spying on his new neighbor, whom said teen's single mother kinda-sorta likes, only to discover that said neighbor is a vampire (just another form of killer who, yes, keeps his victims in his house). Various chase and "high suspense" scenes follow until the main characters square off in a battle royal to determine who will live and who will die. It's disappointing -- but not all that surprising -- just how unoriginal and unimaginative this movie feels. To make matters worse, this Fright Night is, yes, a remake of that Fright Night, so not only does this one play out like a rip-off of another movie, it's also a rip-off of something that was already done before. Add in that the movie was probably made in large part because it could be filmed in 3D, and the stage is set for a potentially miserable motion picture. Fortunately, 2011's Fright Night excels beyond "miserable," but it's still a derivative, predictable, go-nowhere sort of movie that holds its own but doesn't exactly redefine the Horror/Comedy, Vampire, or remake markets. It's polished, effortlessly executed, stylish, and occasionally fun, but Fright Night is hardly a landmark of Horror filmmaking.
Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is a pretty average suburban kid. He hails from a cookie-cutter neighborhood located on the outskirts of Las Vegas, a neighborhood where the distance between houses may be measured in inches, not feet or miles. That's both a blessing and a curse; it keeps the community tight and on its toes, but if the wrong person moves in next door, there may very well be hell to pay. When locals start disappearing and school attendance markedly drops as a result, Charley's former geeky friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) investigates, leading him to believe that the disappearances might be the work of a nefarious vampire. Charley more or less blows Ed off, and who can blame him with blonde classmate Amy Peterson (Imogen Poots) hot for him? But when Ed disappears, Charley decides to take his claims a bit more seriously. An investigation leads him to believe that his new next-door neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) may very well be a creature of the night, a bloodsucking vampire. Charley turns to the only expert he can find on vampirism, a dark Vegas show star named Peter Vincent (David Tennant). Can Charley, possibly with Peter's help, muster up the courage to protect his mother (Toni Collette) and his girl, or will he, too, just become another forever absentee at school?
Fright Night is routinely and serviceably entertaining, a movie made of pretty standard stuff, which is just about the best thing that may be said of it, other than, perhaps, that it's also technically honed to a crisp edge that gives the illusion of a superior movie where a rather lackluster story actually exists. Fright Night does well to mix standard Horror/Vampire movie thrills and chills with some subtle situational and character humor, but the movie lacks the hard edginess of superior genre pictures like 30 Days of Night (and Fright Night pretty much mimics that movie's vampire makeup and special effects), opting instead for something a little more reserved, stylistically bland, and infinitely predictable. While the direction, acting, and the like are all up to par for a big studio production, the story itself leaves much to be desired. Though it might copy characteristics of Disturbia, Fright Night begins well enough, building up a few halfway interesting characters and situational dynamics, but the picture falls into routine chase elements soon thereafter as character development comes to a screeching halt, leaving only a few main characters who are only slightly more shapely than flat cardboard cut-outs. It's the sort of movie that looks like something better and feels like it should be superior genre fare, but the end result is just another humdrum Horror movie that's neither all that great nor all that bad.
Though their characters may be mostly one-dimensional, the cast gives the movie full-steam-ahead efforts that are maybe Fright Night's one major saving grace. Colin Farrell chews up the movie with a fun, level, no-frills sort of effort. He sinks his teeth into the character and creates a frightening and powerful, though not exactly dynamic or memorable, villain. He plays the part with a spark that's needed of a character who's more or less a "lone wolf" sort, a character who creates some vampire minions but who truly has no equal or superior in the movie. The picture is smart to dismiss the urge to paint too much of a backstory, and that he's somehow shrouded in mystery makes him a little more frightening. It's too bad that the vampire special effects look more devilishly cartoonish than they do genuinely frightening, but at least the character is sufficiently sinister. Imogen Poots' Amy is perhaps the most generic character in the movie, doing little more than playing the obligatory girlfriend/female-in-peril part. Anton Yelchin doesn't lend much spunk or spirit to his part, either, playing the hero role pretty straight, though he does manage to make his transformation from skeptical friend to frightened teen to wannabe tough guy vampire slayer believable enough. The show is stolen, however, by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, the Superbad alum who plays the "something's amiss in suburbia" character with geeky panache. He commands the movie whenever -- and however -- he appears on the screen. It's too bad he's treated more as a necessary but disposable second-tier character; the potential was there for him to become something of an Edgar Frog-style long-lasting and memorable hero, but the movie doesn't take full advantage of its best asset.
Fright Night 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
This one's for all those people who prefer to watch movies they can't see. Fright Night's 1080p Blu-ray 3D transfer isn't terrible by an stretch of the imagination, but any dark scene in the movie is basically unwatchable. The good news is that brighter daytime scenes hold up fairly well, though the image definitely lags well behind its 2D-only counterpart Blu-ray release. The great detail from the standard 2D release isn't quite as good here; knock the score down a hair for slightly more pasty facial textures, less visible nuanced details on skin, and reduced crispness on clothes and the general neighborhood grasses, houses, and the like. Colors, too, appear a bit more dull but are by no means greatly reduced. Light banding is evident on occasion, but usually only around bright light sources. The real drawback here are dark scenes that are often little more than giant blobs of blackness on the screen. The film's early shots of the neighborhood at nighttime barely reveal any information, and even the "for sale" signs that are right in front of the camera are difficult to make out. As for interior nighttime scenes, forget about it. An early sequence featuring Charley and Ed breaking into Adam's house is so dark that the only real information that's visible are giant white objects, like pantry doors and the refrigerator. Many scenes are best described as a total blackout; it's hard to follow the action when the screen goes 99% black. On top of that, blacks manage to look a bit washed out while they obscure everything happening in the frame.
Fortunately, those 3D elements which the transfer allows the audience to see are actually very impressive. Though there's a hint of crosstalk here and there and throughout the entire movie, the effect is never damaging to any great degree. Otherwise, this transfer yields very good natural depth. Any overhead shot of the town allows the background to just sprawl out way into the distance. The film's title, appearing against one such overhead view, looks like it's floating and its letters unevenly spaced, an effect that's far better realized in 3D than it is in 2D. Objects are very shapely, whether people, odds and ends around the house, motorcycles, stakes, or anything that's not flat by design, like walls. The transfer's general depth is its best asset, but it also produces some nifty 3D effects that will have viewers dodging in-movie objects. Shards of glass appear to fly straight out of the screen on two occasions. Fire spits out into the audience in one critical scene, and the floating embers that linger post-vampire kill literally seem to drift right out of the screen. There appears to be a few more potentially neat effects, but they're unfortunately lost to the transfer's darkness. It's a real shame that this one's often far too dark to enjoy. When it's on and at least moderately bright, it's one of the better Blu-ray 3D transfers on the market, but the dark scenes are just killer.
Fright Night 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Fright Night's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack is scary good. It's a wholly enveloping experience that delivers precision atmospherics and high-energy action with equal brilliance. There's a very good heft at the low end, which is a key element in a Horror soundtrack such as this, giving it that power and body that makes the experience a little more chilling. Explosions are strong and focused, and heavy club beats heard in chapter fifteen are nicely representative of that atmosphere. The added surround channels are constantly utilized in creating a completely immersive audio environment, whether in the form of lingering thunder, the din of busy school hallways, or in support of the film's more intense music and action sequences. Music is, not surprisingly, robust, spacious, and nicely detailed through the entire range. The track is very well balanced, too; imaging is wonderful, sound placement is impeccable, and the track always seems natural, even when artificial effects and music dominate. Dialogue is never lost to surrounding elements, and it remains planted in the center channel. This is a very high quality soundtrack from Disney/DreamWorks.
Fright Night 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
All of Fright Night's supplements are found on the included 2D-only Blu-ray disc. There are no exclusive 3D supplements, but this package does contain a digital copy of the film.
Fright Night 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Fright Night is a halfway decent Horror/Comedy that emphasizes the former and subtly works in the latter. It features a couple of good performances, a few lackluster efforts, and one or two mostly superfluous characters. Special effects are hit-or-miss, but the movie sports a high value production sheen that helps to mask its shortcomings. The picture is both a remake and a movie that's far too close in subject matter to another, unrelated film. It's a bad combination and, indeed, Fright Night can't elevate itself beyond the level of a workable, watchable, but forgettable picture. Disney/DreamWorks' Blu-ray 3D release of Fright Night is way too dark in its dark scenes. The movie practically disappears, which greatly lessens an otherwise strong 3D transfer. The sound is fantastic, but the supplements are rather sparse. Worth a rental, but potential buyers should opt for the superior -- and cheaper -- 2D-only edition.
Fright Night: Other Editions
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Fright Night 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Fright Night Blu-ray - October 14, 2011
In December, Dreamworks and Walt Disney Studios will bring Fright Night to Blu-ray. A remake of the 1985 cult classic, the film stars Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) as a teenager who learns that his next-door neighbor (Colin Farrell, In Bruges) is a vampire. Fright ...
• $5 Off Coupon for Fright Night 3D (Expired) - September 9, 2011
Pre-orders for the Blu-rays of Fright Night and Fright Night 3D went up today and Disney and Amazon are offering a $5 coupon towards pre-orders for the 3D combo pack. The release of the comedy horror remake has not yet been detailed by the studio and no release ...
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