A charmless, mediocre retelling of the 1985 cult favorite. Despite being penned by Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum Marti Noxon, the script moves far too fast, passing every opportunity to build tension or suspense. Colin Farrell is better than usual, but he can’t conjure half the swagger that Chris Sarandon had in the ’85 version. I was intrigued by the casting of Anton Yelchin and Toni Collette, but their talent is mostly wasted. David Tennant’s performance as a Las Vegas showman (an ugly reimagining of Roddy MacDowall’s TV horror host character) strikes a sour note, and the lazy casting of gitchy Christopher Mitz-Plasse as Evil Ed is probably the most blasphemous crime of all.
As a sincere fan of the original film, I could gripe forever, but at least the remake is watchable. I enjoyed the desolate Las Vegas setting and the climax may be better orchestrated than the original… maybe. But overall, why watch this version when there’s another with three times the character, style, and heart?
Scott studied film and sociology at Indiana University and is currently the video producer for a large publishing company. He is the director of several independent films, including "House of Hope," "Off the Beaten Path," "The Day Joe Left," and "Found." For more about Scott, visit www.scottschirmer.com. Scott is also one of the principal organizers of the Dark Carnival Film Festival. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)