Fright Night (2011)

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: -1/2

Content: -4

Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell. Comedy/horror. Written by Marti Noxon. Directed by Craig Gillespie.

FILM SYNOPSIS: High school student Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is suspicious of his new next door neighbor (Colin Farell). Sure enough, the new guy is a vampire. Ever try to convince others that your next door neighbor is one of the living dead? Itís not easy, as Charlie soon discovers. (Sounds pretty good, I know, but read why it bothered me.)

PREVIEW REVIEW: Itís rated R, yet aimed at teens. And why is it rated R? Films get rated for content, which mainly consists of language, violence, and sexuality. Well, this remake of the 1985 vampire spookfest relishes in those areas as if they were newly discovered. After 40 obscenities (curse words) and six profanities (the misuse of Godís name or Christís), I gave up counting. Every character Ė adult and child Ė gets his or her opportunity to emote by abusing the English language: the s-word is used for shock, the f-word for distress, ďJesusĒ for outrage, and G--d--- for bravado. Thatís the range of the writerís artistic expression. Oh, and the writer has every teen calling one another ďDude.Ē Gee, that never gets old.

Then thereís the violence, which doesnít seem excessive for a vampire movie. Could this reaction mean that after a summer of superhero action adventures designed to out-throttle one another I have become desensitized to violent excess?

And finally, thereís the sex, which the lead and his come-on girlfriend avoid until the climax, um, of the story. My impression is that the makers of this movie are promoting teen sex. A vampire movie aimed at teens, promoting teen sex. Oh, thatís a good idea. Nothing can go wrong there.

The film is equal doses of pointless imitation and dumbed-down rip-off. And if you are offended at hearing your Saviorís name used as mere expletive, then beware.

Perhaps Iím reading too much into a vampire movie when I suggest that it goes beyond being profane, crossing into the area of blasphemy. At one point, the vampire mocks Christ by burning a cross at his mere touch. Should I not read more into that than a storyteller simply trying to be amusing? It is after all, only a movie.

I believe it was Francis Ford Coppolaís who first had his monster (1992 Bram Strokerís Dracula) portrayed as an omnipresent creature who contemptuously burns a crucifix with a stare rather than turning away from the significance of the cross. (Itís been done this way in nearly every vampire movie since.) This new spin changed the entire theme of the Dracula legend. No longer was God the conqueror of the devil; now man alone was in control of his fate.

Itís interesting to me that while countless vampire moviemakers stick with the ďtraditionsĒ of this genre (a shaft of sunlight kills them, they cast no reflection in the mirror, they canít enter your home unless invited; and they hate garlic), the one area these storytellers insist on changing is the power of Christ over evil. Whatís up with that?

Again, before you remind me that the Count was only a work of fiction, I want to point out that itís not the movies that disturb me so much as the messages contained in those movies. I hate spending so much effort on a review when it appears that so little effort went into the production. Thereís nothing new, creative or interesting in the entire movie. Itís merely a dismal and dark rehash; a profane, insensitive, non-responsible mishmash that truly deserves stake through the heart.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Crude sexual references

Obscene Language: 40 obscenities and several minor expletives

Profanity: Around six profane uses of Godís name or Christís.

Violence: This vampire doesnít just suck blood, he tortures and dismembers; thereís a great deal of violent battle. The 3-D version of this film has several scenes where the blood comes skirting out at the audience.

Sex: An implied sex act and then the two teenaged leads have their moment.

Nudity: Women in provocative underwear.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: One comic character drinks through the entire film without any apparent negative consequences.

Other: The film, though nothing more than a silly B horror movie grieved my spirit.

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Older

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.