Fright Night 3D Blu-ray Review
This Region free Blu-ray of Fright Night includes both the 2D and 3D versions of the film on separate discs, with the 2D version encoded using AVC and the 3D version encoded using MVC. The transfer presents the film on a BD50 disc with a resolution of 1080p24 and in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is slightly opened up from the 1.85:1 that was used in the cinema. The film was shot in native 3D using a camera rig composed of two Red One digital cameras and the transfer was rendered directly from the original digital files. The 2D transfer is very clean, with plenty of fine detail and no obvious compression or banding artefacts. There is a fine layer of grain that, given the film’s digital origins, was probably added in post-production to give the image a more film-like appearance. The colours appear natural and the blacks are nice and deep, whilst still retaining shadow detail. This is just as well, since as the title suggests, the majority of the film takes place at night.
Ordinarily, where a film is shot in native 3D that would be the preferred viewing option but unfortunately this is not the case with Fright Night. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the majority of the film takes place at night and the darkness of the image causes real problems when it comes to the 3D. There is no question that the 3D is well photographed because the daytime scenes look great, with plenty of depth and some effective composition. And based upon the daylight scenes the transfer is equally impressive, with no crosstalk, compression or motion artefacts. The problem is, these scenes are few and far between and once we head into night, any sense of depth or definition is lost. To shoot in 3D you need a lot of light because without being able to see backgrounds your eyes can’t interpret the information as depth. Instead what we get a series of incredibly dark scenes which appear flat and thanks to the dimming effect of the 3D glasses, it is impossible to make out any detail at all. The reality is that dark moody lighting doesn’t really lend itself to 3D photography and with hindsight the filmmakers would have been better off sticking with 2D. It’s a real shame too, because there are some quite impressive 3D moments in amongst all the gloom. There are a few instances of objects coming out of the screen and the effect when the vampires explode after being exposed to sunlight looks very cool. Sadly overall the filmmakers have scored something of an own goal when it comes to the 3D version of Fright Night.
The Blu-ray of Fright Night uses the same DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack for both the 2D and 3D versions of the film. Surprisingly the sound design isn’t as impressive as you might expect for a 7.1 mix, especially when it comes to use of the surrounds. The soundtrack is very front heavy, with the bombastic score mixed across the LCR channels and well into the rears which tends to swamp any discreet sounds at the back. At least the well recorded and spatially integrated dialogue remains anchored on the centre speaker and mixed high enough to be heard and understood. The LFE channel is also fairly active with some impressively deep bass supporting the action scenes and delivering a few scares. Unfortunately there is little in the way of localized sounds which is surprising when you consider the sound mixers had four speakers at the rear to play with. The lack of sounds being steered to the sides and back mean that much of the creepy atmosphere is lost and most of the scares are the result of the disc’s impressive dynamic range. Overall this sound is something of a disappointment and much like the 3D it fails to offer a truly immersive experience.
This Region free Blu-ray of Fright Night comes as a 3-disc set, with the 3D version of the film on the first disc, the 2D version and the extras on the second and the DVD + Digital Copy on the third. Overall the selection of extras is rather disappointing, with no commentary from director Craig Gillespie and no detailed ‘making of’ documentary, just a brief 8 minute featurette that works more like an extended trailer. Come to think of it, they haven't even included the theatrical trailer and when the second longest extra is a music video, you know you’ve got problems.
- Peter Vincent: Come Swim In My Mind (02:09, HD) - This is a funny promotional featurette for the Las Vegas stage show being put on by David Tennant’s character, Peter Vincent. Some of the footage is seen in the film whilst other parts show Tennant mercilessly sending up Vegas shock magician Criss Angel.
- The Official “How To Make A Funny Vampire Movie” Guide (08:04, HD) - This is part ‘making of’ featurette and part extended trailer, with the cast and crew discussing the traditional and slightly less traditional approach that this version of Fright Night takes with vampire mythology.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes (04:51, HD) - The feature includes five sequences that are either viewable individually or together via a ‘play all’ function. They are all extended scenes that mostly involve brief character moments and it is easy to see why they were deleted.
- Squid Man: Extended & Uncut (02:56, HD) - This is a longer version of the home movie that Charley and Ed made together when they were still friends, before Charley joined the popular crowd. It is full of crazy antics and is actually quite funny, especially if you have a thing for geeks dressed in spandex and bubble wrap.
- Bloopers (03:23, HD) - The usual collection of swearing, laughing, forgotten lines, missed marks, props that break and props that don’t break - actually it’s pretty funny.
- Kid Cudi “No One Believes Me” Music Video (05:21, HD) - A song from the film’s soundtrack, sung by someone you’ve probably never heard of, in a music video shot on the set of the film by the film’s director, Craig Gillespie Instead of doing this, he could have recorded a commentary track.
The 2011 version of Fright Night is one of the better remakes that has been released recently, taking some of the elements that made the original unique and giving them a modern twist. The cast is very good, the plot is effective and the effects are fairly impressive, resulting in a film that delivers the right amount of laughs and scares. The only real complaint is that the character of “Evil” Ed is not as memorable, nor as threatening, as he was in the 1985 original.
The Region free Blu-ray of Fright Night comes as a 3-disc set, with the 3D version on the first disc, the 2D version and the extras on the second disc and the DVD + Digital Copy on the third. The 2D transfer is excellent, using the original digital files as a source and delivering a clean print with natural colours and deep blacks. Sadly, despite being shot natively in 3D, the dark nature of the film renders much of the 3D ineffective and in many scenes the addition of glasses makes it difficult to discern details. This is a rare example of a film being shot in native 3D but the 2D version being the preferred viewing option.
The Blu-ray uses the same DTS HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack for both the 2D and 3D versions but unfortunately the sound mix is somewhat lacking. The main problem stems from the bombastic score which tends to dominate the mix, swamping any atmospheric sounds from the sides and rear. Dialogue is well integrated and the LFE channel can be quite effective, delivering some big bass moments along with the scares but there is little in the way of steering between the surrounds. As with the 3D version of Fright Night, the soundtrack fails to deliver a truly immersive experience.
Along with the 3D image and the soundtrack, the extras are also a serious disappointment, with nothing substantial on offer and most of what is there being little more than extended marketing features. Whilst Fright Night itself is great fun, the 3D package is a major let down and in all honesty you're better off just buying the 2D version and saving yourself some money.
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