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Fright Night 3D – Fan Review (Test Screening)

This is a reader’s (he called himself Charley Brewsterrr) review from a test screening that took place in Orange, California.

I can just see it now, studio execs walking into video stores and combing the aisles looking for something to remake without any care in the world. It is a safe gamble to re-imagine something that was successful before because if it doesn’t gel, it is an out because it worked before and they can push blame elsewhere. God forbid someone takes a chance on an original script as opposed to worrying about losing their cushy job. Don’t get me wrong brother, I am not a hater when it comes to redoing a story. From wave one remakes like The Thing and The Fly, to more creative bankrupt outings like Dawn of the Dead and The Ring – all I want is a good movie, and those four titles delivered. Like a singer doing a cover of a song – the second time around can be a nice companion piece, and in some instances, turn out better.

I knew it was a matter of time before my beloved Fright Night was going to be raped by the suits in Hollywood. If Psycho, The Haunting, and Friday the 13th can be retold – why not Fright Night? Bad examples…I know. But that is the point. Some flicks are stuck in a time warp and are magic in a bottle and must be left alone. I am not talking about the Aqua Net, bad clothes, and cheesy music. The film industry has changed for the worst and here is why. Pop culture and media whoring has ruined a lot of the enjoyment of cinema. The hook is to pander to the trendy youngsters by showing them what they are familiar with: television shows (The Real Housewives of New Jersey) and an unfunny douchebag who was in a hit comedy (Superbad). This motion picture was made for parents who drop their daughters off at the mall.

Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) does battle with his next door neighbor who happens to be a vampire. Jerry Dandridge (Colin Farrell) is his name, and being unscary and looking like a 40-year old version of Robert Pattinson is his game. Students in the small town on the outskirts of Las Vegas go missing and Charley’s best pal – Evil Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) – figures out from watching the news that a vampire is sucking his way through the city of sin. After Ed turns into one of the undead, he visits the throne of master magician and bloodsucking expert Peter Vincent (David Tennant), who I would describe as a cross between Criss Angel and Russell Brand, to assist in destroying Dandridge and saving his girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) before dawn.

What Fright Night got right in 1985 was everything. For every horror nut who grew up on the film, Charley Brewster was us. He spent his nights watching scary movies to the wee hours of the morning. School was tough and dating was migraine-inducing, but watching various monsters and beasts made everything right with the world. That is what made us happy, and to the day – it still does. The script was an homage to Rear Window and The Boy Who Cried Wolf with a dose of that planet 80’s free spirit. Fright Night 3D, more like unnecessary post-conversion 3D, is in such a hurry that it forgets to tell any kind of story. There is absolute zero character development as the cardboard actors just go through the motion and it’s painful. The neighborhood feels like a leftover set from the The Stepfather, as opposed a real home on a real block. Roddy McDowell was the backbone of the original and played like a father figure to Charley. Now he is just a boozing womanizer who doesn’t come to the rescue and is just an afterthought. Chris Sarandon does make a cameo, but suffers a bite to the jugular from CG-faced Colin Farrell (who is solo, no Billy Cole) and is spared the misery that I couldn’t get away from.

No Tom Holland. No William Ragsdale. No Amanda Bearse. No Roddy McDowell. No Stephen Geoffreys. No Jonathan Stark. No Dorothy Fielding. No Art Evans. No Steve Johnson. No Richard Edlund. No heart. No soul. No thank you. You would be better off getting a Black & Decker enema…for real.

Rating: ½☆☆☆☆

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Donny Broussard

I enjoy the types of films that used to dominate late night television in the ’80s, spending time with my family, filmmaking, photography, Rubik’s Cubes, Diet Pepsi, building old Shogun Warriors model kits, Canon cameras, comic books, AOR, coconut ice cream, mac & cheese, cold pizza, popcorn, nachos, UL Football tailgating, film festivals, reading, Barry Manilow (don’t ask), films with both Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase in them, Alf, Pac Man, 1979 Trans AMs, beer, Godzilla, Hooters (both the restaurant and ones girls like to keep hidden), and Bigfoot (he’s real). I’m just saying.

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27 Comments

  1. I was watching the original yesterday and was actually thinking about the remake. I thought the cast was pretty good that they put together, but that it seemed like a bad idea from start. Good to know that I don’t need to waste my money on checking this one out.

  2. Aha. So you loved the old one and didn’t give the remake a chance. You could have said that in one sentence.

    On Twitter, lots of people who were in the same preview screening loved it. And even on IMDB (the pit of negativity) two guys who said they expected to hate the remake liked it – With someone saying it’s actually better than the original.

    If you can’t say a single positive thing about it, it’s clear you didn’t watch it objectively.

    Horrorchic Reply:

    Ummmmmmmmmmmm Sandra…

    Brewster is one of the most open minded horror fans, when it comes to remakes. Did it every occur to you that those tweeting up praise for this remake were “studio plants”

    If he couldn’t say a single postive thing about it, perhaps it simply isn’t a good movie?

    At the end of the day, we all are entitled to an opinion.

    But this isn’t a place where we attempt to belittle anyone for it, when we disagree. So you must have been en route to imdb and took a wrong turn.

    And like CB mentioned, have you even seen the 1985 original film?

    Charley Brewsterrr Reply:

    I can say ONE positive thing about the new Fright Night. There will probably be a Special Edition DVD release of the superior original, or better yet… a Blu-ray.

    Jet Reply:

    Must have been a huge preview screening considering the thousands of people who claim they were there! I would take anything said on twitter with a grain of salt. Wow IMDB held up as a source … lol … next you will be citing the latest fiction made up by AICN!

    For the record didn’t attend the screening, strangely the Studio didn’t send me tickets to fly halfway round the world :)

    Note some people are claiming the remake is better than the original, the term “studio plant” comes immediatly to mind.

  3. Profile photo of Donny Broussard

    I’d like to invite Charley Brewsterrr to comment!

  4. That’s the case with any remake. Will fans of the original give the remake a chance? I think fans have lesser their hatred a bit over the years, but sometimes it’s hard. We will have our review when it comes out.

  5. This is less review and more of a script review that allows you to rant about sequels and wax poetic about the original.

    You tell me nothing that shows you actually attended the screening. Everything you describe can be found online, detail-wise.

    How was the look, the directing, the acting? Is there anything new in this film that’s not in the original? These are things that should be covered. Not just a blind re-hash of internet details that you might have read and have compared to the original film.

    Horrorchic Reply:

    OOPS My bad, thought it was you that Sandra was giving a verbal spanking to CB.

    Charley Brewsterrr Reply:

    -The movie opens with the Touchstone Films logo, followed by the one for Dreamworks. We begin in the heavens and the camera glides through the clouds panning down on a neighborhood that looks a lot like the one seen in E.T.

    -Evil Ed is killed by Charley Brewster and not by Peter Vincent, like in the original.

    -Jerry Dandrige likes really bad reality televison, as we see him watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

    -Charley and Not-so Evil Ed are dorks who like to dress up in costume (LARPers) like they are going to Comic-Con.

    -For some unknown reason, instead of turning into a bat to chase down Charley and Amy, Dandridge decides to jump into his truck and go after them. It is here where Chris Sarandon slams his car into them on accident and has his neck bitten by Dandridge.

    -Peter Vincent’s parents were murdered by Dandridge.

    Bring it on, fucker!

  6. It’s says a lot about you that you call me “sweetheart” and accuse me of being 13. You’re getting defensive pretty quickly… “Sweetie” ;-)

    I found more objective reviews on the web. Ironically from girls who say they aren’t objective, because their favourite actor is in this — and yet they describe changes to plot, characters, backstory, 3D, gore, cameos etc. What worked and what didn’t work and why.
    You know… a good review :p

    Seems like you could learn a lot from those “fangirls” (no offence to them) — they write better reviews than you.

    sandra Reply:

    Charley Brewsterrr’s comment to my first comment was removed and now I sound like I’m shouting at thin air. Oh well… *shrugs*

  7. Be advised, this is just a test screening review from a fan. Killer Film will had an official review in August.

    Horrorchic Reply:

    Okay gotcha!

  8. Well I for one thought this was a great review – it did exactly what was intended – provided me with a thorugh insight into this mess of a film that, like the remake of NOES, I WON’T be seeing…..ESPECIALLY with the bs 3D…Thanks CB for an honest take on ‘re-imaging’.

    Charley Brewsterrr Reply:

    You have taste, Talia. Good for you.

  9. Stephen Geoffreys (Evil Ed Fright Night 1985) new film Mr.Hush is everything this re-boot is not. Its funny, smart, scary, and original. Seek it out and send a message to the suits that horror fans deserve better. Support a smart indy! Mr. Hush gives a loving nod to the original Fright Night, but is not a remake. And horror icon Stephen Geoffreys is fantastic.

    Tara Reid's Nipple Reply:

    Mr. Hush? You sure that isn’t one of the gay pornos he was in?

  10. This just might be the worst review ever written – by an undercover staffer. What a crappy site.

    Profile photo of Donny Broussard

    Donny Broussard Reply:

    Thanks for taking the time to comment Cryin’ Ryan.

  11. For anyone who believes this screening was a mirage. It took place at AMC 30 At The Block – a very popular destination for test screenings.

  12. You went in to the movie expecting not to like it. I also grew up in the same time frame as you and get sick of hearing prople cry about raping there child hood get a life!

    Charley Brewsterrr Reply:

    Please go back and read my opening paragraph where I state all I want is a good movie. I am happy that you grew up in the same time frame as me.

    I am one of the few people to enjoy the remake of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, and I simply adore Craven’s original. But FRIGHT NIGHT 2011 is a big middle finger to Tom Holland’s original.

    I hope you make a return visit to this review on August 19 to tell me what you thought. Make sure you bring some lube with you when you hit your local theater on that day.

  13. It’s just a fan review people! No sense in flaming it that bad since 98% of us won’t be able to see it until august. Killerfilm always does a great job of keeping us in the loop, and there’s no sense in flaming them. Again, just a fan review.

    If anything, I hope we get a new edition of the original on dvd. I think it’s oop.

  14. Thank you Mr. Brewsterrr for confirming what I already knew. The only reason to remake a genre classic like Fright Night is pure greed on the part of the studio. No one was asking for this and now we must endure this desecration of the one of the best vampire films ever made. I read an interview with the remake’s scriptwriter Marti Noxon on AICN. It made me want to retch. She obviously had no clue as to what made the original film work at all. She kept referring to it as “campy.” I think the original film is equal parts funny and scary, but I do not find it campy. I suppose any movie made in the 80’s seems campy to the under 25 set. Ms. Noxon goes on to say that she wanted to essay a more gritty, realistic version of the material. I don’t think that vampires and realism mix very well at all. I think that realism is a crutch that is used to justify lazy and unimaginative storytelling. The fact that she has turned Peter Vincent into some kind of Chris Angel magician and set the movie in a Las Vegas suburb tells you the sort of obtuse level she was approaching the story from. The original film is a love letter to horror films and horror fans. It is one of the first truly postmodern horror films and did it eleven years before Scream came along. In the original film both Charlie and the vampire Jerry know the tropes of horror/vampire films which they then use to their individual advantages. The original was made for a pop culture savvy audience whose knowledge went beyond who made the cut on Dancing With The Stars. There are so many crappy, cheap 80’s horror movies they could have remade. To rape this material, cast Colin Farrell and call it Fright Night is nothing less than a travesty.

  15. Amen, Z!

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