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Charlie has been trying to give his former friend Ed a clue. Their days of dressing up in costumes and making goofy movies in the backyard are long gone. Charlie is hanging with a new crowd now. After all, upgrading your image is important. Especially if you want to keep the attention of a certain out-of-your-league beauty named Amy.
But Ed won't let it go.
He keeps barraging Charlie with all kinds of geeky silliness. And now it's something about a vampire. He's convinced that a creature of the night is killing kids and their families. He even suspects Charlie's buff neighbor Jerry. But Charlie can't help scoffing at that. What kind of a vampire name is Jerry!? Anyway, this is Las Vegas. People move all the time. Charlie should know. His mom's a real estate agent.
When Ed threatens to spread around an old video of Charlie swinging a sword while wearing tights, however, Charlie is forced to help the dude out. And just as he expected, it's pretty much a waste of time.
Then Ed goes missing.
And Charlie starts noticing little things that Ed was trying to point out—like Jerry's windows being all painted over. And he starts hearing things he shouldn't—like a neighbor girl screaming in the dead of night. Could it be that Jerry is more than just a guy who works the night shift on the Vegas strip? Could that handsome lady-killer next door be a very real girl-killer?
Charlie loves and feels protective of both his mom and Amy. And he's willing to put his life on the line while facing off with the vamps in hopes of protecting them both. He also risks everything to try to save Doris, a neighbor girl who's been taken captive.
In the heat of what seems initially like a totally irrational request made by her son, Charlie's mom takes his side. And with time, Charlie laments turning his back on Ed.
The vampire lore itself is based on a set of spiritual undead "rules" which includes fear of sunlight, crosses and garlic. A Las Vegas entertainer named Peter Vincent (a Criss Angel-like magician) stages a live vampire-killer show that centers around "vampire methodology." He wears cross necklaces. He sports cross and pentagram tattoos. He also owns a roomful of vampire relics that includes a container of "holy water," a "crucifixion nail" and a wooden stake he claims was "blessed by St. Michael."
Charlie and Ed both carry crosses or crucifixes to ward off vampire foes. Charlie covers his window and his mother's hospital room with crosses as well. At one point he brandishes one in a vampire's direction and says, "I repel you with the power of Christ the Lord." In turn, the creature asks him, "Do you have faith?" before snatching the cross from his hand. Charlie spots a wall hanging in Jerry's house (featuring a winged figure wearing a crown) that has the look of a spiritual icon about it.
A friend of Charlie's ogles Amy as she walks away and wonders aloud, "Did you find a genie lamp or make a sacrifice to the hot-a‑‑ god?"
From high school girls to average women on the street, females are routinely adorned in formfitting, low-cut outfits. That includes Charlie's mom and Amy. Amy usually wears a midriff-baring top as well, and several guys, including Jerry, ogle her form. Insinuation (and threat) dripping from his voice, Jerry tells Charlie, "She's ripe." He references Charlie's mom in the same way. Doris also gets the ogling treatment, from Charlie this time. The camera lingers on her backside, examining the word "Lucky" printed on her sweatpants. While at school, a friend shows Charlie a "sexted" cellphone pic of a girl in a bikini. Club dancers wear bikini-like outfits.
Peter Vincent's stage show cast boasts a number of shapely women sporting sexually provocative outfits while rehearsing a scene which involves them caressing one another. His girlfriend walks around wearing an open robe that reveals her skimpy underwear. Peter goes shirtless while wearing skintight leather pants. Tipsy, he says, "See that? Like a good date, you get me drunk and I'll try anything."
Jerry seduces Amy, feeds her a drop of his blood and kisses her passionately. Charlie and Amy lie on his bed and kiss. She begins unbuttoning her shirt stating that it's time to "give it a go." They're interrupted. Later, however, they're back in the same position with Charlie's shirt off and Amy in bra and panties. The scene fades out as their consummation process begins with a caress and a kiss.
It's stated that Doris is a stripper. Jerry watches a reality TV show that features several women chatting about their breast implants. When asked what he's doing on a school computer, Charlie replies, "Porn."
Bloodletting in Fright Night is triggered by both savage flesh rending and heavy-breathing sexual seduction. First, an example of the former: The opening scene focuses on a frightened teen being pursued and thrown about by an unseen entity. The boy stumbles past his dead and bloodied sister and runs into his parent's room only to find them both torn and covered in gore. With his father bleeding out beside him, he hides under the bed fumbling to unlock the trigger guard on his dad's gun. Before he can use it, he and the bed are viciously ripped away from the floor.
That kind of chilling, fear-filled violence happens throughout this film. A teen's throat is ripped out underwater in a backyard pool. We see bones jutting out of someone's shattered arm and a man who's impaled with a real estate sign. Someone is struck by a van and dragged down the street, leaving a trail of blood behind. Someone else loses an arm in a panic room door, has his neck cleaved open by an ax, his head pummeled by a mace and his chest pierced by a stake. We watch as a burning man's skin sizzles and his eyes burst.
As for the sexualized violence, a vampire lustfully sinks his fangs into the necks of several young women. He also coats his lips with his own blood to mesmerize one young victim and later opens his vein to feed her.
An ignited gas line causes a house to erupt. Numerous vehicles are battered, tumbled and smashed. Corpses are scattered on a basement floor. Several vampires disintegrate into flaming ash when hit by sunlight.
Crude or Profane Language
More than 40 f-words and 30 s-words. At least a dozen misuses of God's and Jesus' names (including two or three combinations of God's with "d‑‑n"). A handful of uses of "h‑‑‑," "a‑‑" and "b‑‑ch."
Drug and Alcohol Content
Jerry shows up at Charlie's house wanting to borrow beer. Charlie gives some to him. Later we see Jerry drinking it. We see clubgoers downing mixed drinks. Peter Vincent drinks constantly. He swigs from and pours glasses of alcohol from several different bottles, including a beaker that appears to contain high-proof absinthe.
Peter and his girlfriend both smoke cigarettes. Early on, Ed delivers a veiled reference to the fact that he's on drugs. (He doesn't specify if they're prescribed or not.)
Other Negative Elements
Charlie breaks into two different houses, pulling up a how-to-pick-locks guide on his cellphone for help. In an argument with Ed, Charlie spits out, "You know when my life started getting better? When I stopped being friends with you!"
Well, once again, we're given another totally unnecessary remake of a merely semipopular pic from decades past. How does it compare when stacked up against the 1985 original? It's the same tale of a teen who recognizes that his neighbor is much more (or maybe less) than he appears. And he sets himself up with crucifixes and vampire lore to save the day in the dead of night.
But this go-round, the fang-baring barrage of f- and s-bombs obliterates the foul language quotient in the original. And the 21st-century CGI beastly effects and sharp-toothed makeup handicraft result in much more realistic blood spatter and flinch-inducing creatures. That updated realism plays out with a more serious growling tone too. Even though lead vamp Colin Farrell clambers aboard with his own brand of hissing camp, the general sense of '80s horror/comedy goofiness has been mostly left behind with that era's big hair and padded shoulders.
If you're still wondering which of these horror romps is better, however, I'd have to say that it really doesn't matter all that much. To be honest, they both land in a messy pile of goo. Whether a movie trivializes evil through eye-rolling silliness or amps up the terror with pulse-pounding jump scenes doesn't make that big of a difference at the wooden-staked heart of things. The packaging may change, but viewers are still asked to revel in the same dark, bloodthirsty stuff.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Colin Farrell as Jerry Dandrige; David Tennant as Peter Vincent; Anton Yelchin as Charley Brewster; Imogen Poots as Amy Peterson
August 19, 2011
December 13, 2011