Fright Night 3D (2011) (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Craig Gillespie
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 106 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, French
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date: December 13, 2011
Review Date: December 9, 2011
Tipped off by his former friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) that a vampire (Colin Farrell) is living next door to him, Charley (Anton Yelchin) launches his own investigation and finds that Ed was right: the hunky, amenable nighttime construction worker named Jerry is in fact a centuries old European vampire whose powers are almost limitless. Las Vegas illusionist Peter Vincent (David Tennant) has an array of vampire-hunting equipment and intricate knowledge about the creatures, but Charley doesn’t do a very good job convincing him about the vampire’s real presence until it’s almost too late. By then, Charley, his girl friend Amy (Imogen Poots) and his mother Jane (Toni Collette) are all on the vampire’s to-do list for elimination: they all know of his existence and must be dealt with.
Marti Noxon’s script is alternately skillful and hack work: she feeds the audience some cheap and unworthy “boo” moments early on (unfairly counting on the audience’s knowledge of the original to amp up the apprehension before director Craig Gillespie has adequately established it), and she offers a really unforgivable “out” for the afflicted quarry of the bloodsuckers: a special stake that when used on the vampire will restore his victims to their original states, which is fine when the lovers get reunited (thus negating the terrible cost of eliminating such a predator) but a terrible idea when the film’s two most innocent victims, the nerdy Ed and stripper Ginger (Sandra Vergara), have burned up and are thus unredeemable, unlike the bullying, obnoxious douches Mark (Dave Franco) and Ben (Reid Ewing) who get a do-over and can return to their insufferable, contemptible behavior at film’s end. Elsewhere, there are some effective scare moments (Ginger’s immolation is really unique and impressively handled), and the movie makes the most of its 3D filming really making the effects uniquely suited for viewing adding impressive visuals to what would otherwise be the standard blood and guts that have been pictured in a thousand movies, vampire or otherwise. Gillespie accomplishes a neat bit of visual imagination, too, by showing the murder of a security guard by gliding his camera from the real-world setting to the adjacent security monitor where the vampire doesn’t register. Watching his victim being torn apart by nothing visible on the screen is another novel touch that distinguishes the otherwise predictable stalk and stake quality of any vampire film.
Anton Yelchin is a less admirable heroic savior of humankind than William Ragsdale was in the original; one doesn’t pull for him quite as one did for the original Charley nor is Imogen Poots’ sexually mature and pushy Amy quite as worthy of our support and concern for her safety though director Gillespie makes sure to include a similarly shocking big reveal for her late in the film as original director Tom Holland did in the original. David Tennant’s drunken, egomaniacal Las Vegas hipster Peter Vincent couldn’t be farther from the hammy, insecure old movie actor that Roddy McDowall played in the first film, and his vulgar new take on the character fits the film’s crude, obvious tone to perfection. Christopher Mintz-Plasse does what he can to give the betrayed Evil Ed some dignity, later seeking vengeance for being abandoned by his only friend, but he can’t hold a candle to the piteous pathos Stephen Geoffreys generated as the first’s film’s Evil Ed. As for Colin Farrell, he brings his movie star looks and swagger to the film in its best bit of casting and walks away with the acting honors. Original vampire Chris Sarandon has a cameo here as another of Jerry’s victims, but the moment is over too quickly robbing him of something really unique that could have been done with him.
3D implementation – 4.5/5
The film has been framed for video at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Though sharpness is just fine with the imagery, the picture has a somewhat digital look that’s a little off-putting, and flesh tones are on the pink side. Color saturation overall isn’t especially impressive, but as much of the film takes place in darkness, hues are naturally subdued anyway. Black levels aren’t the deepest, either, also lessening the impact of some of the scenes underground or in dark places. The film has been divided into 20 chapters.
This is among the best implementations of 3D in a live action film for home theater with outstanding image depth offered, and usually interesting (but not always) placements of people and objects on differing planes within the frame. As the movie continues, there are more and more examples of outward projections from things thrown or driven directly at the screen (bottles, broken glass, lots of blood) to hands extending outward, and later flames and sparks and burning ash which float around within easy reach of the viewer. There are some crosstalk problems which occur occasionally, and there are one or two moments where outward projections have been poorly focused and thus lose their unique ability to impress when thrust at the viewer.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is an exciting aural experience. With the entire soundstage kept remarkably active through much of the movie, there is plenty of ambient sound that will impress (a news reporter’s words on TV waft through the right side of the soundstage slowly from front to back as Charley moves around the vampire’s house), and Ramin D. Jawadi’s bombastic score blasts from the speakers at regular intervals. Rumblings from the LFE channel are very strong and quite impressive.
All of the bonus features are presented in 1080p.
The 3D disc in the set contains no bonus features, not even the 3D theatrical trailer for the film itself.
The 2D Blu-ray offers the following bonus material:
“Peter Vincent: Swim Inside My Mind” offers actor David Tennant in character as Peter Vincent doing a puffy interview for his Las Vegas act. It runs 2 ¼ minutes.
“The Official ‘How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie’ Guide” presents ten steps to be followed to achieve vampire movie nirvana. Writer Marti Noxon, director Craig Gillespie, producer Michael De Luca, and actors Toni Collette, Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse discuss casting, the use of blood effects, props, music, sets, and stunts in making the film what it is. It runs 8 minutes.
There are five deleted scenes which can be viewed separately or in one 4 ¾-minute grouping.
“Squid Man – Extended and Uncut” is the complete home video shot by Evil Ed when he and Charley were friends playing superheroes in their backyards. It runs 3 minutes.
The film’s blooper reel runs 3 ¼ minutes.
“No One Believes Me” music video is performed by Kid Cudi and runs for 5 ¼ minutes.
There are promo trailers for Real Steel, War Horse, and The Help.
The third disc in the set is a combination of the DVD version of the movie and the digital copy of the film.
3/5 (not an average)
Completely different in mood and tone from the 1985 original, Fright Night offers a fun 3D experience for the effects alone but is otherwise a rather stultifying, sour movie enterprise that fails to charm. While the audio is strong, the video has some problems, and those without 3D capabilities might not find enough here for an entertaining rental.