Of all the wrenching things I heard at the press conference at HBO headquarters following a screening of Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s powerful documentary Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, last but not least was Damian Echols’s admission that when he emerged from nearly two decades on death row for a crime he didn’t commit, the first movie he saw was wait for it the remake of Fright Night. Probably he remembered the original from before his life went to hell, so it was comfortable, somehow. Yes, there’s now this thing called the Internet and vinyl is pretty much gone and people carry all their music around with them in their telephones but the multiplex is still playing Fright Night. Echols thought the movie was bad, but I’ll bet he will be tempted, for old time’s sake, to see two other remakes of films he remembers from before his fall: Footloose and The Thing. What’s your excuse?
This movie is a double drag: It repeats a lot of the stuff from Carpenter’s film and you know exactly where it’s going. This one does have a woman in the lead, an American paleontologist played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, but she’s basically Kurt Russell with rounder eyes. Some of the world’s most intriguing actors — Ulrich Thomsen, Joel Edgerton, Trond Espen Seim — have been cast in some of the world’s most anonymous parts, and they’re not much more interesting when they split and sprout. Bottin, whose whereabouts are reportedly unknown, shouldn’t worry that the world has moved on. I’m sure he could find work on a remake of The Howling.