I know, FINALLY VAMPIRES GET A MOVIE, RIGHT?
I-yi-yi. Look, I always loved Dracula. I like “vampire-y” things! You think I would’ve made it five glorious years being the assistant manager at a Hot Topic with only “work ethic” to keep me going? But could Hollywood just touch the breaks on vampires for a couple weeks? I guess Twilight started the “fanged snowball effect” (as Variety calls it), but that was YEEEAAARRRS ago. You know how you can make some off-hand comment about how you like something? The Beatles, say. Then your friend buys you something Beatles-related. Hey, great! But then other friends see that thing, and suddenly every gift you ever get is a crystal paperweight with the lyrics to “Imagine” etched in it, or something. Not only are you getting sick of the thing you like, you are receiving awful crap, done in the name of the thing you liked-but-now-are-sick-of. That is a very long-winded metaphor for me and vampires!
How does Fright Night stand up in this glut of sexualized blood longing? Let’s dive in!
“UH-OH! There’s a vampire living next door to me!”
This may as well be the opening line in Fright Night, for how quickly it throws you into Monster Time!
We meet Charlie, an all-American teenager living in Las Vegas. He loves skateboarding and girls butts, just like you or me! Colin Ferrell just moved in next store, and he is a “little odd”! Two seconds later, McLovin (who will be known as “McLovin” until the day he dies, even if he is elected to Supreme Court Justice) is freaking out, because he thinks Ferrell is totally a vampire. This all happens so fast, it almost feels like projector skipped about ten minutes, (I almost wrote “skipped a reel”, but of course movies don’t use film anymore, just beams of the Earth’s energy or something?) but honestly, it’s almost nice that Fright Night doesn’t spend a lot of time messing around. You’re here to see people kill monsters, for god’s sake!
I have to hand it to him, Colin Ferrell is pretty great in this. He just goes for it, full-tilt, acting like a cool uncle who is spending some time out of state for a “misunderstanding” between him and a sixteen year old girl. What a creep.
If you weren’t aware, Fright Night is a re-make of a fondly-remembered 80’s movie of the same name. Re-makes are always at the mercy of not being written for the current era. In the original, Charley enlisted the help of a local horror-movie show host to help him figure out how he could kill off the vampire. As local TV shows are now, at best, scarce (if not totally dead), they’ve changed the character to a Vegas magician who has a vampire-themed stage show.
Here’s the big problem with that change: magicians are patently fake. I know horror movies aren’t documentaries, (Although it would be a great twist if, when we die, god reveals that all monster movies are actually documentaries. Heaven would be a throng of nerds screaming: “I knew it!”) but at least if you were a horror movie host, you would have had to view hours and hours of monster-killing footage. A magician hosting a magic show that basically looks like Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love” video can pretty much just make it up as he goes along.
Even having to go see the magician seems like an odd thing to do. Just Google-search “vampire killing”! Or, if you are really hurting for product placement money, “Bing it”! (No one has actually said those words in real life). I know that you might want to find a sympathetic ear, but as far as killing the vampire goes, I’m pretty sure “stake through the heart” is the classic way to go. Although WHO KNOWS at this point, right? Every vampire movie just seems to re-set the rules to whatever. Just ask ol’ disco ball face.
All in all, this movie totally does what it needs to get done. It looks good, the acting is solid and entertaining, and the vampire done kill people good. I don’t need to go into it any further. If you see this movie, however, try not to sit directly next to a woman who eats an entire Chipotle burrito at the movies start, as it will smell like eight kinds of fart emerging from five kinds of holes. MOVIES ARE MAGIC!