Rue Morgue contributor and 3-D expert Jason Pichonsky checks in with a look at the latest tech treat for 3-D fans, 3-D TV, to see what it offers horror fans. This time: a remake of an ’80s classic.
As a fan of the original Fright Night, I didn’t expect much from this remake – yet another re-imagining of an ’80s horror classic in the long line of retreads mining the decade’s horror gold. As a teen of the era, I saw a direct reflection of myself in the film’s protagonist, Charley Brewster, and I didn’t imagine this adaptation would hold up to affection for the original. I did however have high hopes for the 3-D viewing experience. After all, Hollywood’s current flirtation with 3-D movies is now over three years old, proving it to be more that a fad. Isn’t it? And this new version, Fright Night 3-D, was designed for and shot in true 3-D. So the 3-D should be spot on. Shouldn’t it?.
Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin, Star Trek’s new “Chekov”) is a Nevada teen in the process of shedding his dorkdom so he can score points with his new girlfriend, Amy. His former best friend, Ed (Kick-Ass’ Christopher Mintz-Plasse), tries to convince him that the new neighbour, a brawny contractor named Jerry (Colin Farrell), is actually a vampire. This Jerry, a much manlier and sexier take Jerry from the former film, is more impulsive and brazen. Realizing that Charley’s got his number, the vamp goes on the offensive, attacking Charley, his mother and Amy, and destroying our hero’s house in the process. Charley turns to the only person he believes can help drive a stake through the heart of the vampire next door, a self-proclaimed expert of the dark arts, Peter Vincent (David Tennant, the tenth Dr.Who). While I may nostalgically pine for the original’s classic “Peter Vincent: Vampire Hunter,” Tennant’s depiction is more suited to today’s world. If you’re under 25 and this is your introduction to the Fright Night story, you’re likely to enjoy it. But will you enjoy it in 3-D?
Unfortunately, the filmmakers disregard the rules of 3-D that were established back it its Golden Era over 60 years ago. You need a well-lit image for the 3-D process to work properly. Much of this Fright Night is comprised of night scenes with only low-lit pools of light. The result is a stereoscopic mess. The 3-D just doesn’t work well. It would be excusable if it was limited to one or two scenes, but this is a bloody vampire film, and the majority of it takes place in the dark! Sure there are pretty glowing embers that float out of the screen and around the audience every time a bloodsucker meets its end, which makes the 3-D sexy, but these effects were added in post-production. At least the climax of the film, even though set in a dark basement, is lit properly for 3-D and works rather well. But it’s too little too late.
Buena Vista’s Blu-ray Combo Pack (3-D, 2-D, DVD and Digital Copy) offers a number of extras, though none very interesting. Least notable: “Peter Vincent: Come Swim in My Mind,” a mock promotion of his Vegas Show utilizing mostly recycled footage from the film, and “Squid Man – Extended and Uncut,” a Charley and Ed YouTube superhero parody.
So while Fright Night 3-D is an interesting take on a beloved ’80s horror classic, it’s a terrible 3-D film.
Jason Pichonsky shares more thoughts on stereoscopic cinema at depthsploitation.com.