A moment, please, to rant at movie theaters: Turn up the damned projection bulbs. If you want us to pay extra for 3-D—even for fun, well-used 3-D like Fright Night—you need to stop making us experience them as though we were watching through pantyhose.
Frankly, that’s one of the few reasons to complain about one of the more energetically entertaining movies of the summer. The remake of Tom Holland’s 1985 horror/comedy cult favorite casts Anton Yelchin as Charley Brewster, a semi-reformed high school nerd. Poor Charley barely has time to start enjoying his hot new girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots), before his friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) starts warning Charley that his new next-door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell), is a vampire—and events begin proving that Ed is right.
Director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Marti Noxon make good use of the desolate Las Vegas suburbs as a setting, and switching vampire-hunter Peter Vincent (a pitch-perfect David Tennant) from a B-movie personality to a stage illusionist combination of Criss Angel and Russell Brand. It’s surprisingly effective as both comedy and horror, featuring uniformly sharp performances and several terrific set pieces, most notably Jerry’s pursuit of Charley, Amy and Charley’s mother (Toni Collette) on a lonely stretch of highway. And Gillespie fully embraces 3-D cheesiness by sending sprays of arterial blood, exploding vampires and various other goodies flying into the audience. It’s a rare example of people making B-movie content with respect.
Too bad that because it’s a vampire movie, and hence takes place largely in darkened settings, wearing those 3-D glasses might make it nearly impossible to figure out what’s going on. Rise up, American moviegoers, and complain bitterly to your local theaters about their dim bulbs. When you get a chance to see something as fresh and cool as Fright Night, you should be able to actually see it.
Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots
Fri., Aug. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 26 / Free