Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews
- Category: Jacqueline Monahan
- Published on 19 August 2011
- Written by Jacqueline Monahan
Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
There’s a vampire in the neighborhood and he’s bringing the property values down, emptying more homes in Vegas faster than foreclosure. The trouble is, no one knows it yet. Well, someone does, but unfortunately he’s a high school nerd that can’t get anyone to believe him – not even his former best friend. That is, until…
Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) has a pretty good life. He’s landed Amy (Imogen Poots) the girl of his dreams; he’s hanging out with a cool crowd at school. The high school senior seems to have it all.
This all changes when a hunky new neighbor moves into the house next door. Jerry (Colin Farrell) chats up Charley’s mom Jane (Toni Collette) as well as Doris (Emily Montague) an exotic dancer from across the street, all the while looking for a way to orally capture their corpuscles.
Only Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Charley’s former best friend, realizes through nerdy detection that Jerry is a vampire. Charley is skeptical until strange disappearances and video evidence all converge to convince him that it’s true.
Enlisting the aid of Peter Vincent, Vampire Slayer and Illusionist, (David Tennant) a local celebrity (this all takes place in and around Las Vegas), Charley, Peter, and Amy take on the sinister, relentless force that keeps creating more vampires each day. Jerry isn’t a picky eater; even men can be on his menu.
Fighting Jerry takes a lot of props, like holy water, crucifixes, wooden stakes, fire, and sunlight. The vampire munches on Granny Smith apples when he can’t find real grannies, and Charley’s classmates are being sucked up at an alarming rate before turning into night-thriving blood vacuums themselves. Then, Amy is bitten…
Some scenes are genuinely scary, but humor and camp run through the proceedings as if wearing high heels and garter-belts. The actors play it straight, which adds to comic/horror atmosphere.
This is one of those rare remakes that can stand on its own merit, a separate entity from its predecessor, but one that knows where it came from and pays homage to that fact. The 1985 original starred Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, and William Ragsdale. Look for a cameo by one of the first film’s stars for an extra bit of fun. (Hint: it’s not McDowall – RIP 1998)
Colin Farrell’s swaggering bravado puts a suave menace into Jerry’s demeanor as he pendulums between charming and deadly. Anton Yelchin’s Charley is a likeable former dork with just enough fanboy left in him to rush into a lopsided battle. Christopher Mintz-Plasse portrays yet another nebbish as Ed, but he does it so well that you wish he had more screen time for his conspiracy theories angst-filled diatribes.
David Tennant’s metro-sexual, Midori-swilling Peter Vincent ramps up the main story with a backstory of his own, and Toni Collette is a seasoned pro at being a mom to boys who see dead people. Well, living dead people.
Imogen Poots is the blond girlfriend that gives Charley something to risk his life for, although the character of Amy is little more than a convenient prop to up the ante for Charley in his quest to grow a set.
Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) keeps the humor (and the look of the film) dark. 3D glasses make for an eternal dusk filming over the screen. Light is out of place here but laughter is not. There’s blood and carnage and evil and danger. These meet and marry wit, irony, comedy in a sharp (no pun intended) script by Marti Noxon from a story by Tom Holland, director of the first Fright Night.
With its vampire credibility at stake, this Fright Night proves it can compete neck and neck with its predecessor as another biting comedy that sucks big time.
And I mean that in a GOOD way.