Fright Night Movie Review: Frighteningly Fun

The opening moments of Fright Night set the film’s tone. Like the original 1985 film, Fright Night features a vampire as its protagonist and puts him front and center. Since the first film premiered, vampires — courtesy of Twilight and The Vampire Diaries — are more drawn to love voraciously than they are vicious. Not so in the world of Fright Night, and as embodied by Colin Farrell, the fanged foes to mankind possess an utter disdain for humans that manifests itself in an almost perpetual people-killing modus operandi.

Anton Yelchin stars in Fright Night

In Fright Night 2011, Anton Yelchin is Charley Brewster. Charley lives in the suddenly vacant suburbs of Las Vegas. In reality, the housing market crash hurt few communities as it decimated Sin City. Charley lives in a Steven Spielberg-esque neighborhood with more realty company signs than citizens. Fright Night brings that fact home immediately as Brewster’s real estate selling mother (Toni Collette) has a trunk full of her own “for sale” signage.

Charley is suddenly cool, successfully abandoning his geek past. The ever-presence of his enormously popular girlfriend leaves his former best friend Ed (Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse) filled with rage. When Ed first approaches Charley about friends who have been missing for days, Charley discounts it.

Enter Colin Farrell at his fangtastic best as Jerry. The actor lets loose and relishes his moments on screen while creating a character that is equally sexy and sinister. 

Jerry is spooky enough to raise Charley’s concern when his single mother shows obvious attraction, he has an instant ire towards his new neighbor. Clues abound that the man next door is not what he seems and in fact may be a cold-blooded killer known to the rest of the world as a vampire.

Tackling a beloved classic is always a difficult endeavor for any creative team behind a remake. When that film is also considered to lie in the upper echelons of a specific genre, the hill to climb mounts. What Fright Night director Craig Gillespie has done has created a film that stands on its own as one of its genre’s greats. Gillespie’s film is funny, fierce and fathoms itself in the most astute of ways.

The pace is intense. It doesn’t waste any time in both giving the audience its horror movie gasp moments while still firmly establishing characters so the audience can be enamored or electrified by the cast.

Evidence of that fact in the most powerful of ways is the work of David Tennant as Peter Vincent. In the original film, Vincent was a late night horror movie TV host who purports to be an expert on all things that go bump in the night. Roddy McDowall landed himself in horror movie hall of fame status with his work as Vincent. In the Fright Night update, Tennant is Vincent, a man who is a Criss Angel type magician whose show utilizes his supposed experience in mastering the supernatural to entertain.

Fright Night picture

The scenes between Tennant and Yelchin are electric. The movie lies on Yelchin’s shoulders. The young actor excels in channeling the spectrum of performance emotion. Within the film’s first hour, Yelchin exhibits teenaged oppression, euphoria over acceptance, killer curiosity, terror and triumph. Meanwhile, Tennant channels all of the aforementioned qualities — even teenaged oppression as his character is less than mature — yet in a manic meets melodic manner.

Fright Night is great fun. Even the fact that it is in 3D, a format that some audiences may be growing a little tired of, is brought into the story as an almost character. There’s a car chase scene where Farrell’s vampire is driving his macho truck into Yelchin’s family van where the audience feels every collision. That is indicative of how Fright Night is sinister in its scariness as well. The film uses every possible means to take a story that has been told before, and builds on its successes while crafting their own cinematic legacy.

Man of Steel Synopsis: What Can We Tell from a Casting Call?

In an open casting call for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, we can discern a few more clues as to the storyline for the Superman reboot.

Superman Logo

The synopsis from the casting call is below, and doesn’t fill in too many blanks. But, what we do know about Man of Steel so far is there will be scenes on Krypton, Smallville and of course, Metropolis.

The film’s moments on Krypton should serve as an acting clinic with Russell Crowe and Julia Ormond portraying Superman’s parents — Jor-El and Lara. The Smallville storyline also features a couple of acting pros in Kevin Costner as Papa Kent and Diane Lane as Mama Kent. Then, there’s the casting of the villain extraordinaire, General Zod. Oscar nominee for Revolutionary Road, Michael Shannon steps into the evil doers shoes and we expect him to shine.

The plot synopsis for the open casting call is still pretty vague, but at least it shines a little more light onto the darkness that is what this new Superman will be about.

Man of Steel synopsis, courtesy of ComicBookMovie:

In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time. Clark Kent/Kal-El (Henry Cavill) is a young twenty-something journalist who feels alienated by powers beyond anyone’s imagination. Transported to Earth years ago from Krypton, an advanced alien planet, Clark struggles with the ultimate question – Why am I here? Shaped by the values of his adoptive parents Martha (Lane) and Jonathan Kent (Costner), Clark soon discovers that having super abilities means making very difficult decisions. But when the world needs stability the most, it comes under attack. Will his abilities be used to maintain peace or ultimately used to divide and conquer? Clark must become the hero known as “Superman,” not only to shine as the world’s last beacon of hope but to protect the ones he loves.

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer Seek New Studio for Dark Tower

After Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s home studio, Universal, passed on their project to bring Stephen King’s Dark Tower to the big screen, the producing duo have announced they will seek out a new partner in order to get the film off the ground.

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

Grazer and Howard are seeking to make Dark Tower a movie trilogy and eventually a TV series that continues the storyline. Grazer spoke to the New York Post and emphasized how he and his partner are still in full-throttle mode in terms of getting Dark Tower made. “[We are] trying to get outside financing to make it and distribute it through a major studio.”

Dark Tower still has its star in place with Oscar winner Javier Bardem signed to play the story’s hero, Roland Deschain. But, according to Grazer, the project will have to wait until Howard finishes filming Rush. “The soonest we could do it would be June next year,” Grazer said.

Contagion: All-Star Poster Premieres

Contagion is storming into theaters September 9 and its cast is nothing less than utterly stellar. All that acting prowess is on full display as Warner Bros has released a new poster for the film that puts all its stars front and center.

Contagion: New Poster

Contagion stars Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Laurence Fishburne. The thriller is directed by the always-astounding Steven Soderbergh

There are quite a lot of Oscar winners and nominees in that cast to say the least. Fishburne and Law are both nominees while Damon, Paltrow, Cotillard and Winslet have all taken home an Academy Award. Contagion’s director too is an Oscar nominee. That is some serious film pedigree.

Contagion follows intersecting stories across the globe as a lethal airborne virus has spread that kills its victims in days. While the film shows the everyday affect the virus is having on people across the globe, it also highlights what the medical community is doing to fight a spreading virus that is permeating the planet faster than they can get a handle on the outbreak.

Father of Invention: Kevin Spacey Reinvents

Father of Invention is a new comedy starring Kevin Spacey and Anchor Bay Films has released a new poster and trailer.

Father of Invention Poster

Kevin Spacey stars in Father of Invention with an ensemble cast that includes Heather Graham, Camilla Belle, Johnny Knoxville, Craig Robinson and Virginia Madsen.

In the film, Spacey plays a former millionaire infomercial Svengali who loses everything when one of his inventions starts cutting off the fingers of his customers. He is sentenced to eight years in prison for neglect, and upon getting out, must pick up the pieces of his life and start anew.

With hopes that some of his savings are intact, he heads to his house to find that not only has his ex-wife (Virginia Madsen) spent every last cent of his fortune, she’s living there with her new husband (Craig Robinson).

What’s a former millionaire to do? Well, for one, he gets a job at a retail superstore as a janitor and moves in with his less-than-friendly daughter and her eccentric roommates. Even without a dime to his name or a place to call his own, Spacey believes in the American dream. He’s still a man of ideas and his latest is sure to put him back on top. But, before he can go for success with his latest invention, he realizes he needs to reinvent himself.

Father of Invention opens in theaters everywhere October 14.

Father of Invention Trailer