Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fright Night—Three Thumbs Up

So, I’ve never really been one to like horror films—and it’s not only because I’m not a fan of being scared (although I am a bit of a ‘fraidy cat)—it’s more about the fact that they mostly seem dumb to me. Gore for gore’s sake, weak plots, stupid characters (if one can even call them characters), and teenaged girls running around in their underwear (or less) and screaming. But I was lured into the lair of Fright Night by two factors, or should I say two cute boys—Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin.

I’ve admired Yelchin as a young actor since the fabulous but underrated TV show Huff and I figured if he was in this, chances were it wasn’t that dumb. And Farrell? Well, even if the movie was dumb, watching him for 90 minutes would be a redeeming quality. ☺

So, I suppose I went in with relatively low but hopeful expectations, and boy was I pleasantly surprised. Because Molly loves lists, here are the top 10 reasons I liked it.

  1. The vampires are scary monsters. Seriously scary monsters. No sparkling. 
  2. The plot holds together and—there actually is a plot. Sure, the main plot is pretty much: kill the evil vampire and live, but it was a really well structured story. 
  3. There were real characters. Well developed characters. Even characters who could have been throw-away stereotypes had some interesting quirks and inconsistencies that made them three dimensional. 
  4. The supernatural world holds together. Sure, to pull off a teenaged boy defeats an ancient evil vampire story the writer needs to put some tools and knowledge in the kid’s path to help, but the way those elements were introduced—it made sense and all hung together. 
  5. The girls weren’t stupid. The main character’s girlfriend was not only not stupid, she was brave and fought too. She wasn’t just a pretty victim for the hero to save. And we believed why she was with the main character beyond: the geeky guy in a horror movie needs a hot girl to save for no apparent reason reason. Even the neighbour who was basically a walk-on female character, who had maybe two lines, wasn’t a total dumb blonde stereotype. 
  6. There were lots of places that made me jump – but there were also lots of seriously funny parts. And not just making fun of the movie, funny. Actually funny. Smart funny. 
  7. Minimal TSTL moments. Yes, twice early on in the film characters run up stairs in a house when clearly they should be running out the back door... and I did roll my eyes at the time. But it turned out they actually had reasons to go upstairs, even if they weren’t instantly apparent as they started up the stairs. 
  8. Toni Collete is always awesome. (And did I mention Colin Farrell?)
  9. A small suburb outside of Las Vegas made a smart setting for a vampire movie—lots of people work at night and sleep during the day, so even blacked out windows aren’t that odd. 
  10. It was just plain good fun and how can you not like a teen horror movie where there’s actually character development? 

Phew, I made it to ten. ☺

Basically, throughout the entire movie all I could think of was how well it was done. Then the credits rolled. Written by Marti Noxon. I know that name. She used to write for Buffy. And then it all made sense.

Smart writer = smart screenplay = smart horror movie.

Yes, there was lots of blood and gore (and I saw it in 3D) but I really liked the way it all hung together. Has anyone else seen it?


Eileen said...

I was intrigued by Colin Farrel in the trailers for the movie. He was doing that charming/dangerous thing that he does so fabulously well. I'm not sure if I can handle a movie that scary in the theater. I'm going to have to wait for DVD. I'm so glad it was worth it, though!

Love your point about Las Vegas. It is a great place to set a vampire movie. You've got the night life thing, plus the desert thing. Great dichotomy.

Maureen McGowan said...

Yeah, the setting was perfect.

I'm the opposite with scary movies. I cannot watch them on DVD. Probably because for me that usually means alone and every time I get tense, I just turn it off.

Colin Farrell was deliciously charming/dangerous/evil.

And Anton Yelchin deliciously adorable and vulnerable and brave. A real teen kid.

Also I realized after I posted that a hilarious secondary character, this Vegas showman dude that seemed to be making fun of David Blaine, was played by David Tennant who played Dr. Who. Really is a great cast for a horror movie.

out of the wordwork said...

It's on my To Be Seen List (hopefully before September)and what clinched it for me was that David Tennant is in it (LOVE him). Great interview with him in NOW magazine. Your review has bumped it to the top of the list (although I do want to see The Help very soon as well)

Maureen McGowan said...

Nelsa, I didn't even recognize Tennant. He was very good. I just read a review of this movie on Mary Sue and they loved it, too. And it was interesting to read the comparisons to the original, which I didn't see.

I keep changing my mind about whether I want to see The Help. The book was so fabulous and the trailers make the movie look so light in comparison. Maybe I'll read some reviews before I decide.

Anonymous said...

Maureen, I wanted to see it before your list, but now, it's a definite and in the theatre where I can really concentrate on Colin.

Simone St. James said...

I loved Fright Night! Maureen, you are right on. The characters were all so well done, and the story was tightly structured.

I didn't find it too scary at all, and I'm scared of everything. It had more of an 80's drive-in horror feel, with bright-red ketchup blood spouting but none of that Saw-type nightmare stuff that I cannot stomach.

Maureen McGowan said...

Yes, Simone, I agree that it wasn't that scary. I just liked that the vampires were actually monsters, not angst ridden creatures who wish they didn't have to kill. Not that I don't love that kind of vamp too, when done right... Anne Rice, True Blood etc.

I was actually thinking after this post that it's more Urban Fantasy than Horror... but no one ever talks about that genre in film.

Maureen McGowan said...

Sinead... Colin is ridiculously hot in this movie. Most of the time.

Eileen said...

I liked The Help too much to see the movie, too. My mother and sister are going to see it this weekend. I begged off because of the looming deadline that is days away from make me start scratching holes in my own skin, but I actually think I want to keep it in my head the way it was.

Plus, Emma Stone as Miss Skeeter? How is she awkward and too skinny? She's gorgeous and graceful.

Molly O'Keefe said...

ha - thanks for the list! Sounds good though I will probably never see it....

finished the fourth Martin book and now I'm just pissed...this isn't fun anymore

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