Thursday, August 11, 2011
Day 35: The Many Faces of the Great American Vampire
Before I get to my review (which will be brief and spoiler free, I promise) I have to address a subculture of people not well known, but which my wife and I have come in contact with only briefly. There are, it seems, a group of people who's sole entertainment in life is to camp out for early promo movie screenings. These aren't movie buffs, mind you. They are mostly elderly, often overweight and usually seem to have a tenuous grasp at best of what movie they're waiting for or what it might be about.
We first encountered these people while waiting for a screening of Juno. I showed up several hours early figuring on there being a line for a free screening and because I didn't want to drive all the way home and then all the way back down to the theater after work. When I got to the theater there were several people already there and they were well equipped. The mostly older patrons had set up camp early with their fold-away chairs, cushions, blankets and books. "Interesting crowd for this movie," I thought to myself, but then I started to notice that most of them already knew each other and I heard one lady ask what movie it was they were waiting for and the other woman responded that she didn't know. I thought that was pretty weird, but whatever, a free movie is a free movie, right?
Over the next couple of weeks we happened to attend a few more free screenings; one for The Fantastic Mr. Fox and another for Sweeney Todd. At both of these screenings I saw most of the same people and again they didn't seem to know or care what they were waiting to see. I also sensed a bit of a cool attitude towards my being there when I clearly wasn't part of the group. It's a bizarre subculture to be sure. I'd like to think if I had that kind of time on my hands I would do something more constructive than wait in line for a movie I'd never heard of, but then again I do Ninja Turtle drawings and then write about them on the internet.
Now, on to my review of Fright Night. To be honest I expected to not like this movie at all. I expected the film makers to take themselves way too seriously and for it to feel like I was watching Transformers 3 all over again. Approximately 10 minutes into the movie my worries were allayed. This movie is a straight-forward and unapologetic 80's vampire movie. There is never any back and forth on is he a vampire or isn't he. They make it pretty clear who the good guys are, who the vampire is and what's going to happen. Also Collin Farrel as a vampire? He's not fucking around.
At one point my wife leaned over to me and said, "This is like Zombieland for vampires." That is true in a sense, but I think she was more correct on the ride home when she said it was more like The Lost Boys. I thought the exact same thing when the main character's friend (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is trying to convince him that his neighbor is a vampire. McLovin is Corey Feldman and Chekov is Corey Haim. Another high point of the movie was David Tennant. I've only ever seen him act as Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter but I'm well aware of his role as Dr. Who #10. Seeing him in this movie really makes me want to start watching Dr. Who. We'll see what happens. To cap it all off the credits roll to an excellent cover of Jay Z's hit "99 Problems" performed by Hugo. All-in-all I would recommend this as a breather from horror movies that are too clever for their own good and too many vampire movies that feel the need to rewrite the rules. In Fright Night you know his weaknesses and he's still a bad ass.