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Fright Night
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62 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2011
The Review:

Hollywood is recycling movies, cranking out remakes, reboots and prequels so fast that Fright Night is just one of TWO remakes released in the same week in August. But unlike the Conan reboot, Fright Night hits it out of the park. I confess to never having seen the original Fright Night, so I'm a tabula rasa so far as preconceptions of what Fright Night should be. I can't tell you how well the new Fright Night stands up to the original. What I can tell you is that this new Fright Night alternates perfectly between funny and thrilling. Starring Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, David Tennant and Toni Collette, Fright Night is long on talent and short on filler. It moves at a brisk pace until it turns on pacing afterburners (in a good way!) about halfway through.

Anton Yelchin plays Charley Brewster. He and his single mom, Jane, played by Toni Collette live in Las Vegas and in a nod to the real world the economy is weak resulting in dozens of foreclosed, empty houses. So when whole families disappear from the neighborhood, it's only natural to think that the former occupants fell on hard economic times and lost the family home. But Charley's best friend, Ed, knows better. Ed knows that all the missing kids at school and empty houses in town are the work of Vampires. Queue Jerry, played by Colin Farrell. He's Charley and Jane's new next door neighbor. Y'know, a guy who works nights and sleeps during the day. A lot of people work nights at Vegas casinos. Besides, a vampire named Jerry? That's like naming a vampire Bill, Erik or Pam

Well just like Erik Northman, Jerry is of the species homo vampiricus badassicus. He will not be throwing pebbles at your window and sharing chaste kisses with you in the woods. He will however, be flipping your car over and trying to disembowel you. Colin may be the scariest character named Jerry in all film history. At the start of the movie it's a quite, subtle menace, but it isn't long before Jerry cuts loose and the movie shifts gears from fun comedy to all out thrill ride. Fright Night, like 30 Days of Night reminds us that vampires need not be angst ridden and insecure. They EAT PEOPLE! And it's awesome.

I don't know whether Fright Night is a good remake, but it is a great movie. It is full of laughs but has fantastic thrills too. After seeing what vampires named Jerry are capable of, let's all of us hope what happens in Vegas truly stays in Vegas.

FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.
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100 of 129 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2011
Okay, I am a HUGE Fright Night fan. I even enjoyed Fright Night part II, despite it's weak spots(less threatening and interesting villains, semi-rehash plot line). The original Fright Night has all the things I love about that special time called the 80's in horror; boisterous special effects, tongue firmly in cheek, monsters, and really great make up effects and ever evolving visual effects. It was a love letter to Hammer vampires and a send up of the 80's slasher trend that dominated the era and knocked over the traditional monsters. I had heard about this remake several years ago and was aghast. Nobody wanted Hollyweird to stay away from Fright Night more than me. I was so shocked that the remake turned out to be not only good, but surprising, and totally fun.

Now I know some horror fans, fanboys in general really, automatically hate something when it's remade, and hate something when the remake changes or rearranges things from the original. Let me warn you purists nerds out there right now, this thing changes all the characters around with the exception of 'Evil' Ed Thompson. He's the same, and played quirkily by Christopher Mintz Plasse(Mc'Lovin). Jerry Dandridge is no longer a semi-tragic seducer, but a cold predator with motives only a supernatural predator could understand, but the movie is goodly enough to let us in anyway. Peter Vincent(the biggest change in character in the remake) is no longer an older, washed up, Hammer-esque horror movie star with a cheap late night horror show, but now a Chris Angel inspired Vegas magician whose show revolves around the occult and especially gothic vampire imagery. Charley Brewster is no longer the nerd next store, but rather a reformed nerd who is a status seeker, trying desperately to hide his old nerd ways to his new 'cool' friends, and super hot girlfriend Amy. Amy is still the most thankless role, but she gets a bit of fleshing out before the third act and truly comes off sympathetic.

Now, like the Halloween remakes, I'm sure most will be upset by the revamped Peter Vincent, but I quite enjoyed the concept and David Tennant's performance. He's crude, drunk, and hiding some secrets from Charlie that the film will reveal. They did a good job of connecting Vincent to the main vampire plot this time out. One of the weaker spots of the original film was the logic behind Charlie going to a known actor for help killing a vampire. It never made a whole lot of sense, but it was fun anyway. In this version there's some logic there and a brilliantly over the top set piece that takes place in Vincent's Apartment in Vegas.

In the original film Charlie Brewster was your basic straight man. He had to play the auidience and the stalwart hero to root for. The cool bit about this character in the original is that writer/director Tom Holland made him a horror hip nerd(long before Scream's Randy). In the remake we find that Charlie is ashamed of his nerd past and he is seeking cool status in high school. He's not very likeable at the out set. His old nerd best friend Evil Ed informs him that one of their old chums has gone missing and possibly murdered, and Charlie just wants to hear none of it and be left alone. You're not rooting for Charlie. That's until he makes his first selfless act for a stripper neighbor entangled in a Jerry Dandridge trap. Charlie has a full blow arch in this film. I really enjoyed them taking the vanilla out of the vanilla hero in this remake.

Oh, Jerry, my favorite vampire of the 80's this side of David Bowie and Kiefer Sutherland. In the original Chris Sarandon's performance is brilliant and as written the character is better than the one presented here. That's just a fact. Jerry in the original seems tragic, but willing to do what he has to do to survive and to keep his secret. This may seem like sacrilege to most fans but I was never a fan of the plot point in the original of Charlie's girlfriend Amy being the reincarnation of Jerry's long lost love. It's too contrived and convenient and really unnecessary to the story at the end of the film. Amy gets used basically as the bait for Charlie and Peter to come after Jerry into his trap. In this film Jerry is pure predator. Now one must understand why this was done. In my opinion this film was not competing with the original portrayal of Jerry, but rather all the recent tragic, weepy, romantic vampires that have come along from True Blood, Vampire Diaries and most especially Twilight. The writer of this film Marti Noxon(staff writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer the series for years) was trying to create the ultimate anti-Twilight vampire in all his rated R glory. Colin Farrell is an excellent choice for this and his performance manages to be unshowy but rather subverssive. He has a great scene where he threatens Charlie in between the lines after Ed goes missing(which unlike the original film is in the first 15 minutes so that doesn't count as a spoiler). He's truly menacing and perfect for this role. Plus, as a bonus original film's Jerry(Chris Sarandon) shows up for a funny cameo that had me cheering when I recognized his face.

Anton Yelchin is a young actor I feel should be looked for. This is his second starring role after Charlie Bartlet and he manages to earn our sympathy and complete a delicate arch from douche bag to hero. He's quite good and look forward to him, and people who aren't generically good looking, in the youth crowd of actors getting more leads like this in bigger and better projects. He manages to give us the pathos, comedy, and shear fear that this role requires, and sometimes in the same scene. "See look, creepy vampire hand!", is one of his funniest lines and silliest and he manages it without looking or sounding stupid.

Imogen Poots his quite effective in the film too, despite her having the most underwritten role. She comes off not like a bimbo but as an average teenage girl, who just happens to be impossibly gorgeous. I would like to see her in meatier roles with more to do beyond being the hero's reason for going into the dragon's lair after being kidnapped.

Now onto Evil Ed, the most popular character from the first film. Now Stephen Geoffreys isn't a great actor, but he imbued that part with something totally original and unexpected of the genre at the time. I take nothing from his role in that film. He was great. Hell, the concept of a painfully nerdy kid becoming a new all powerful vampire is still a great quirky concept that no one has really done since or before. In this we get Mintz-Plasse playing basically a toned down version of McLovin. But it's more than that. He manages to play the hurt of losing his best friend to the status of high school realistically, and his ultimate revenge manages to be harrowing, funny, and silly all in great effect. Is he as memorable as Geoffreys in the original? No, not even close, but he pulls off the roles requirements and I'd imagine for people who haven't seen the original, or don't even know that this is a remake, his character will hold some surprises for them. The only thing I really want to complain about when it comes to this character and his role in the plot involves his demise by Jerry. I don't mind that it happens WAAAAAY earlier in this film, but rather how the drama plays out. In the original it's quite emotional how Jerry pulls Ed into his arms promising a world where no one will ever pick on him again, and quite scary how Jerry chases him in the alley. In this film, while Jerry' dialogue is similar, it just doesn't have the same impact and pathos. It's there but not quite as good.

Toni Collette shows up in the film as Charlie's mom. Her part has been beefed up from the previous film. I really liked her and her role as the stakes for Charlie gets raised. People accuse roles like this being thankless when big name and very talented actors like Colette take them, but I disagree. She performs a function and does it really well. Is the part small, and not very deep? Yup, but it feels layered and you care about her almost instantly because of Colette. Here's a good litmus test, if a lesser actress had played the 'thankless' role of Mrs. Brewster how would the film have turned out? This isn't Shakespeare but it should be take seriously regardless and the final film benefits from it in totality.

Now there is one thing that disappointed me about this remake; the vampires don't really have monster transformations. In the original film Steve Johnson's make up effects for the vampires various monsterous visages were quite impressive if totally over done by the decade's end. Jerry turns into a monsterous bat, Ed turns into a wolf, etc. In this film the vampires do get ugly when they get mad, but it's just a slight bat-like visage and some major gnarly claws. It was done by Howard Berger of KNB effects and the make ups are quite good, but they are enhanced with digial effects, very good digital effects by the way. When Jerry goes full blown monster for the closing moments of the film it is mostly CGI. Sorry, guys, but for some reason when Amy's jaw grows large and filled with jagged teeth in the original it was done well by make up effects, but the remake need to be aided by CGI. Why? Is it more effective? Not really. At the end of the day, digital or make up, I still know I'm looking at an effect. I just admire make up effects more than CGI. That's just me.

The basic plot points and reasons for this story are the same as the original but tweaked, rearranged and give different back stories. This is what I think remakes should do. Make a good films for the virgins of the franchise but also surprise, hopefully pleasantly, the old fans. This film does that in spades. I can't really reveal what those tweaks and twists that might surprise old school fans are due to them being major spoilers. I will say, without too much detail, that Jerry's ultimate plan has more to do with than just drinking blood for survival. It's a great twist to the vampire lore, and leaves room for a third act surprise that had me squirming and widening my eyes with glee. Peter Vincent gets the same treatment, although his new twist is easily figured out, at least to me, but it was very satisfying and gave him a logic of more dramatic weight that the first film really didn't need or have. It works.

I know my horror nerd membership card may get revoked, but I really loved this remake. No, not more than the original, but as close to it as possible for a story I've seen once told already. This is how remakes should be done in my estimation. Don't recreate the wheel, but rather tweak it and turn it down a different road to get to the same end. See this movie, new or old fan, you are going to get something out of it. If you're a fanboy and just can't deal with anything about your original film being changed or tweaked, just avoid it and save yourself the headache and us your bitching rants.

PS: I saw this is in 2D. I really don't care about 3D and the low box office returns for 3D films is diminishing(just like it did in the 50's and in the 80') its appeal to studios, so I imagine I will have to deal with having to go to different theaters just to see a damn movie in glorious 2D much less in the future. It's a horror film, set mostly at night, mostly in dark areas, so why would one want to make it muddier and darker by slipping on 3D glasses? I wouldn't and don't. Although, this film does have actual 3D intended shots, and was shot in actual 3D, I just didn't see the point of the gimmick beyond taking the audience out of the film which was a semi-serious horror film. Plus, some of the shots that are big 3D shots really screw up the flow of the edit and manage to take you out of the movie even if you're watching it in 2D. One that sticks out is a shot of a vampire monster hand coming through the bottom of a car. The shot is held to long obviously for 3D effect. Things are flung at the camera several times too, but there's really no good reason this straight horror film is done in 3D.
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45 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
I have long lamented the fact that vampires, one of the great antagonists of literature and mythology, have been so poorly translated to film. Since 1922's Nosferatu, you can count the number of good vampire movies on one hand. What's worse is how the portrayal of vampires has transformed from the embodiment of pure evil, to sympathetic vagabond, and now, sexy hero.

In 1985, before this idiotic evolution, Fright Night was released in theaters. The movie centered around a high school kid, Charlie, who comes to realize that a vampire, a fellow by the name of Jerry, has moved into the house next door. When he tries to convince his girlfriend and best friend, they laugh at him. But his insistence begins to worry them, so they enlist the help of Peter Vincent, an aging star of a recently canceled late night horror show, played by Roddy McDowall (Cornelius from Planet of the Apes). His friends hope this vampire "expert" will prove to Charlie that their neighbor is no creature of the night. When Mr. Vincent realizes Jerry really is a bloodsucker, he eventually helps Charlie exterminate the creature. Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck of "The Princess Bride") gives a great performance that is both charming and malevolent as the evil neighbor. The movie is a little dated, with 80s styles and music, but it's still among the best of the genre. And it blends humor and horror as well any film ever has.

The folks over at DreamWorks apparently felt this formula would work again in 2011. And since Hollywood is loathe to produce original material these days, a remake was in order. This remake works largely because of timing. In an era where vampires have become cute, misunderstood teen idols, audiences are ready for vampires who are just ruthless monsters, unencumbered by guilt or angst over their existence.

The new Fright Night takes place in Las Vegas; an ideal place for a vampire to blend in because of its transient population that works all night and sleeps all day. Overall, the remake has a superior cast. Colin Farrell takes over as the not so friendly neighbor, Jerry. Although I think he's a good actor, I have to say that I have long suffered from an acute case of Colin Farrell fatigue caused by his appearance in one out every three movies released from 2002-2006. But Farrell is up to the challenge. His Jerry is a sadistic and unrelenting killer. He lacks the elegance and panache of Sarandon, but is every bit as charming. Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the new Star Trek) plays Charlie, a kid who is trying hard to distance himself from his nerdy past and nerdy friends in order to win the affection of a pretty girl. This time, Peter Vincent is a Vegas magician and narcissistic drunk hilariously brought to life by David Tennant (Doctor Who). The movie has a few good scares and more than few good laughs. If I was a movie critic, I would say it's "wickedly funny."

Fright Night moves fast, running from scene to scene, rarely slowing down for anything, which is too bad because its best scenes happen when the movie slows down to build the tension. One such scene occurs when Jerry tries and tries to get a suspicious Charlie to invite him into the house. Another when Charlie attempts to rescue one of Jerry's victims. But the movie prefers a sprinters pace, so it can feel a little rushed at times. There is also a few scenes with annoying CGI blood that's squirts at the camera intended for the 3D version. But none of this keeps Fright Night from being a highly enjoyable date movie, quite possibly the most fun I've had at the theater this year. And probably one of the best vampire movies ever, but that's not saying much.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2011
There were some very interesting scenes in the version of 'Fright Night' and this director directed 'Lars and the Real Girl', one of my all time favorite films, but ultimately the movie as a whole was a waste of time and money. Make no mistake this movie is not really a 'remake', it's more of a re-imagining. It has the same characters, but other than Charlie and his girlfriend they have completely lost what made them so endearing to audiences in the first one. Evil Ed is boring, Jerry Dandridge is just a killing machine with no personality to speak of and Peter Vincent was more like Russell Brand in the 'Arthur' movie. I couldn't have cared less about what happened to him. In the original you wanted Peter to win, not only over Jerry but overcome his fears and grow up. That was good writing. This film feels as though the writer had no real affection for the original and just slap dashed something together to make it more 'hip' and current. Big mistake. There is certainly nothing wrong with making it more current, after all it was made in 1984 and the soundtrack and disco scene seem dated. But for God sake why are you trying to fix something that isn't broken? I also suspect that a long list of overpaid studio morons put in their two cents to further complicate matters. So, I'm not surprised at what a mess it was. I should have suspected something when the movie started and I was the only one in the theater.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2011
While I don't share the same enthusiasm as others when it comes to this film that doesn't mean that I didn't like it at all. I appreciate the fact that they tried something new, but I couldn't help but feel like I could have been watching any other vampire movie besides Fright Night. I am an 80's baby, so I grew up a big fan of this movie, and if it were left up to me personally I don't think they should have even bothered with a remake. Remakes only show how unoriginal and uncreative Hollywood has become. With that said, let's discuss what I didn't find interesting, and that's the angle they took with this Peter Vincent. While I appreciate that they tried to make him a modern day version of Roddy McDowell let's keep it real. This guy was more like a rock star than a vampire hunter, real or fake, in my own opinion. You barely see this guy besides on television, and when Charlie finally looks the guy up he does absolutely nothing besides run and hide until the end of this movie. The other Peter Vincent had a more active role in finding out about who Jerry Dandrige really was and helping Charlie defeat him even though he was afraid in the original film. I also have a slight problem with the "Evil Ed" they had this time around. Come on, how in the hell can they arrange it to where he finds out about Jerry before Charlie because he's been following Jerry around town with night vision goggles and camcorders. Is that the best they could come up with? That part was not believable to me that "Evil" would just know to follow Jerry because he is a vampire and then warn Charlie about it only to be bitten in practically the beginning of the movie. There was really no build up to that point, Ed just knew about Jerry, and it just is what it is I guess. Frankly, and it's just my opinion, but I don't think that part was thought out too well. On top of that, I guess they totally decided to axe Jerry's daytime companion and watchdog that was Jonathan Stark in the original movie. I really hate to be the person that only dewells on the original because I dislike it when other people tend to harp on that fact. Plus, it only makes it harder to accept the new characters and storylines, but by this being one of my favorites it was very important to me that it was done right, and in my opinion it fell short in certain areas. In the original film Charlie's curiosity and spying is what got him in hot water with Jerry.

Now, let's discuss what I did find interesting, and that is I liked the brief Chris Sarandon cameo. I liked the fact that Charlie's mom played a bigger role in this film because you barely remember that she is a part of the story in the first film because her screen time and dialogue was very short. I also think that Colin Farrell made a worthy vampire because he was all about the killing. It's not secret that the man is extremely easy on the eyes, so the sexiness oozes from his pores without him even trying to be sexy, but I do think they tried to make him more terrifying than seductive which is rare for vampires these days. I sort of like the Amy better than Amanda Bearse this time around, but I couldn't help but think she didn't have a real role in this movie besides playing the hot piece of tail in this movie. The original Amy was more involved in the meat of the story than this chick.

Overall, the movie did seem a bit rushed, but it was fun to watch. I think that if you don't the mistake of doing what I did, and that was constantly trying to see some type of resemblance to the first film then you will like it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2013
It is cliche but the original Fright Night (1985) is far superior. The remake isn't particularly scary or atmospheric and not all of the performances work. Fright Night is a dark vampire tale about a guy (Charley) who discovers his neighbor is a vampire. Colin Farrell's performance was good but we note many women like Chris Sarandon as well. The absolute worst character was Peter Vincent. David Tennant is miscast here and nowhere near as good as Roddy McDowall's performance. Peter Vincent, the vampire hunter, is reduced to a Vegas sideshow wearing a lot of fake makeup. Charley isn't nearly as charming here and his girlfriend is an absolute bag. Evil Ed wasn't the dedicated method actor from the original either. The movie isn't terrible but it grossed only half of its budget in the US which is always the kiss of death. The movie struggled to find its audience because it isn't scary enough for a horror movie nor does it have the charm of the original. The soundtrack and comedy don't quite blend the way they did in the 1985 version. I must admit horror-comedy is extremely hard to do but the original was rewarded with a Saturn Award for Best Horror. No notable awards were connected to the remake. The Blu-ray picture quality is average but the audio is very good. There is 26 minutes of total bonus content. The second disc is a DVD copy.

Video Resolution/Codec: 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 | Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio Formats: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Video Service 2.0
Subtitles/Captions: English SDH, Spanish, French

Special Features:
Kid Cudi Music Video (uncensored version) - "No One Believes Me"
Gag reel
"Squid Man" - Extended & Uncut
Peter Vincent: Swim Inside My Mind featurette
The Official "How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie" Guide featurette
Deleted/Extended Scenes
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2014
I am not a fan of remakes, because rarely, if ever, do they do justice to the original film. That being said, I wasn't expecting anything out of the Fright Night remake, except for a cameo by Chris Sarandon. I was however pleasantly surprised, as the young cast was better than expected. For those who don't know the story, it is a classic vampire tale. Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is a normal teenager, whose life revolves around High School and his beautiful girlfriend. Everything is perfect until an old friend tells him that his new neighbor is a vampire. At first Charley doesn't believe him, but the more he watches, the more he realizes that something isn't right. Anton Yelchin opposes Colin Farrell, and while he might not have the name recognition, he easily outshines the veteran actor. Yelchin has a cult following among fans of teen movies, after strong performance in films like Charlie Bartlett and Middle of Nowhere. As with most teen idols, his popularity is not just about his looks, it comes from his smooth relaxed style of acting, that people can relate to. Yelchin's characters are always real and honest, the kind of guy audiences can easily relate to, and that's what makes him as good as he is. Yelchin has help in this film from an all-star cast that includes, Farrell, Toni Collete, Christopher Mintz-Plasse-Mclovin, Dave Franco, and of course the original vampire, Chris Sarandon. The combination of chemistry between new and veteran make for a truly powerful cast, that bring new life to this classic story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2013
***Warning spoiler alert***

Wow! There are so many things I disliked about this movie I don't really know where to begin.

The movie just jumps in with little story, or character development. The diologue is lame with ridiculous, unnecessary, sexual references every other line. The neighborhood setting is boring, with cookie cutter houses. The plot has holes big enough to drive a fleet of trucks through. Young kids are missing and the cops only show up briefly in one scene. Come on! Evil Ed, Peter Vincent, and even Charlie Brewster are horribly written characters. Jerry Dandridge never met a neck he didn't like. I mean, he could have just brutally killed some of his enemies, not sucked every single one. Stupid! I only liked two things about this movie: Colin Farrell, and the cameo with Chris Sarandon. Farrell plays the villan well, even with his lousy diologue, and really projects menace and evil. It was also good to see Chris Sarandon again, even if his scene was mediocre.

Both the original Fright Night, and the sequel Fright Night 2, are much better movies. I don't know what is happening to Hollywood these days. What ever happened to quality writing, and telling an interesting story? I know that the horror genre is not exactly Shakespeare, but there is a suck limit for me. No pun intended. This movie pretty much reached it, and I'm sorry I bought it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2013
I have seen the original Fright Night movie back in the 80's when it first came out and I pretty much know the original word for word and when I watched the remake I have to say I was very disappointed, but then I watched it as if it was a new movie and stopped comparing it to the original movie and I have come to a new view on this movie. The new story line is very imaginative and the acting was good but I have a problem with the Vampire fangs, they did not have Vampire fangs but instead they had a mouthful of out of place, crooked and way to many pointy teeth in their mouth, I'm sorry but that is not a Vampire, that is some kind of freaky monster thing.
I gave this 3 of 5 stars mainly for the fresh take on a classic movie.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2011
There are a lack of 3d reviews online so I thought I would share my opinions regarding the 3d effects of movies I have seen.

I have a 3d plasma tv so I try to get movies in 3d when I can. Some 3d movies are not too great in 3d, but I even like the effect when there is only added depth to 3d movies as I feel it adds a little more to the film, but when things "pop out" that is when I get excited about scenes. This is just a quick review of the 3d without spoiling the effects.

This movie is dark, so wearing 3d glasses makes it even darker. At first I was a bit dissapointed with this, but not every scene looked too dark. To make up for it the movie had numerous 3d "pop outs" which surprised me (I acutally wasn't expecting much). I like it when I rewatch scenes to see the "pop out" again as I did with this movie.

Overall this was one of the better 3d movies I have seen. I am considering purchasing it for the 3d effects and it was a good movie, that I would love to show off to friends/family.
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