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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Vampire > Monster > Comedy > Fright Night 3-D (2011/Touchstone Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD w/Digital Copy) + Fright Night (1985/Limited Edition/Twilight Time Blu-ray)

Fright Night 3-D (2011/Touchstone Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD w/Digital Copy) + Fright Night (1985/Limited Edition/Twilight Time Blu-ray)

 

Fright Night 3-D

Picture: C+/B/C+

Sound: B

Extras: C

Film: C

 

Fright Night (1985)

Picture: A-

Sound: B

Extras: C

Film: B+

 

 

There are right ways and wrongs ways to remake a film; but classics should never be touched.  In my opinion the original 1985 Fright Night is a horror classic that stands the test of time.  It was simple and restrained in concept that poked fun at many classic horror tales in a tongue in cheek manner.  With the slasher films of 1980’s taking over Fright Night was a sleeper hit that made all the right moves in ironically stating the condition that the ‘horror industry’ was in at the time.  Partly serious, partly humorous Fright Night managed to construct a solid story without falling victim to the pitfalls that many other horror films did at that time.  It was smart and self-aware; making for a memorable cinematic experience and elevating it to cult classic status.

 

Fright Night (1985) was a homage to past horror films.  It was filled with suspense and character; not surrendering to cheap, shocking moments of blood and gore.  The film was beaming with magnetism as the actors were believable in their roles with writer/director Tom Holland taking a page from the classics to make the film come to life.  Fright Night was restrained as audiences only got quick glimpses of the horrors at hand (neck?) and saved the best, most graphic moments for the end.  This was something the classic horror films continually embodies; in part because of the conservative times, but also because it built suspense and gave a film substance.

 

Then there is the 2011 Fright Night 3-D with Collin Farrell and Anton Yelchin that apparently didn’t even bother to read the cliff notes as to why the original was so great.  Fright Night 3-D is still not your classic vampire film, but what it does do is destroy what stars like Chris Sarandon (Charley) and Roddy McDowall (Jerry) achieved in the original.  The original was not a slasher/action film, but Fright Night 3-D has made it essentially that.  The storyline is weak (having changed around the original) as it is transformed into a hyperactive, action flick with little substance and character development; cashing that in for explosions and car chases.

 

I would say outside of the ‘vampire next door’ angle, Fright Night 3-D has little to do with the original; having gutted out the original film concept and merely prances around in its skin.  Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) discovers that his neighbor Jerry (Collin Farrell) is a vampire after the disappearance of many kids from school.  Charley makes this discovery with his friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and soon find themselves enlisting the help of Vampire Hunter/ Stripper Peter Vincent (David Tennant) to help them destroy the evil, suave, cunning, handsome, charming Jerry that seems to have everyone in Las Vegas in his grips.

 

The film is far from fantastic, but with that said it is a solid popcorn flick….and that is all.  Full of fun and action, it holds the audiences’ attention but failed to recapture the charisma of the original.  The star of the film is definitely Collin Farrell who seems to steal the show in most of his films, as he has the ability to transform into whatever the writers/director gives him.  Sadly his performance does not save the film and audiences will be left wanting.

 

 

Technical Features:

 

Fright Night (1985)

 

This Limited Edition Blu-ray is amazingly well done and I was wholly surprised.  Whereas most films from this era are poorly preserved and given little thought, restoration prior to placing on Blu-ray; Twilight Time has most definitely put the time and effort into this release. The picture is a 1080p/AVC Encoded MPEG-4/ High Definition/2.35 X 1 Widescreen that looks amazing here on Blu-ray.  The dark gloomy film comes to life as the crystal clear image jumps off the screen.  The colors are fantastic and shine through the darkness with ease.

 

There are little too no light/dark issues as the film is solidly balanced.  There is the occasional bit of grain here and there, but overall this is only a minor gripe.  The great restoration job and transfer to Blu-ray is no surprise, especially with Grover Crisp overseeing the work.  Crisp is the same talented person who oversaw the Taxi Driver restoration, which is also out of this world.  From the colors to the astonishing level of depth and detail throughout this transfer to Blu-ray is frighteningly good.  The sound is not as wonderful as the picture, but does slide by as passable.  The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio was not as fully engrossing as I would have hoped.  I would blame this mainly on the fact that the original release of the film was a simpler Stereo release and the restorers did not want to deviate too far from that track; as it may become too artificial and distorted.  I never felt truly surrounded by the Surround Sound and instead found myself noticing the sound coming mostly from the front.  There are some atmospheric elements and musical elements from the surrounds, but overall weaker than it should have been.

 

The extras on this Blu-ray release of the 1985 classic are nearly absent as only an Isolated Score Track and Original Theatrical trailer are available for viewing.  Whereas I was overly impressed with the film restoration, the extras left me wanting.



Fright Night 3D (2011)

 

I am sad to say that in terms of 3D this was not a very well done film; which is even odder when considering that it was filmed in native 3D (no junky conversion here).  If anything I can fairly call the picture quality ‘unbalanced.’  Both the standard Blu-ray and the 3D release during the daytime scenes is out of this world (demo quality even), but as we dip into the night sequences the waters get muddied.  The standard Blu-ray is better than the 3D in its 1080p 1.78 X 1 High Definition Widescreen, as I could clearly make out all figures and shadows.  The 3D however drops the ball with a somewhat blurry, hard to discern image quality.  This became especially noticeable in the faster paced sequences; of which this film had many.

 

So even as I compliment the film’s day sequences for having brilliant colors, textures and so on; this is Fright NIGHT 3D so it is no stretch of the imagination to realize most of the sequences are at night and in turn fall victim to the aforementioned issues.  This is NOT to say there are not some amazing 3D sequences, but I would stick with the standard Blu-ray on this one.  The audio is ‘blah’ at best and I was clearly expecting more from a 2011 3D film.  Sadly, most of the audio experience is a blur as it is either heavily coming from the front or thundering from the surrounds with little directionality, panning effects, or any form of a balanced experience.  This goes for the standard release and the 3D.  The DVD release in terms of picture and sound is dismissible as we have grown beyond this like that of Beta-Max; just because this is based on a 1985 does not mean we have to be stuck there.  The DVD is dark and murky in picture quality with poor textures and the audio is worse than the gripes I had above.

 

The extras on Fright Night 3D are weak at best including:

 

·         5 Deleted/Extended Scenes

·         Peter Vincent: Come Swim in My Mind

·         The Official “How to Make a Funny Vampire movie” Guide

·         Bloopers

·         Kid Cudi “No One Believes Me” Music Video (Uncensored)

·         Squid Man: Extended & Uncut

 

There is more there than the 1985 Blu-ray version discussed above, but still just as disappointing as quality is NOT there; in fact I believe all those extras only account for about 20 minutes or less of footage.

 

Lesson here on Blu-ray, stick with the original.

 

 

You can order the original Fright Night while supplies last exclusively at this link:

 

www.screenarchives.com

 

 

-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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