A Fright-ning Remake
By Jay Fralick on August 23, 2011
This week’s offering was the remake to the 1985 vampire classic Fright Night. Directed by Craig Gillespie of Lars and the Real Girl, Fright Night opens on a fairly isolated sub-division in Las Vegas and follows nerd-gone-douchebag Charley Brewster, not to be confused with Charlie Bartlett, played by Anton Yelchin. When a mysterious, good looking guy moves in next door, people begin to go missing.
You generally know the story.
I like Anton Yelchin. I think he has some range. I’m not sure I understand the “recovering nerd” part of his character. It is a device to get him with the cute girl, played by Imogen Poots (I don’t care if it makes me sound juvenile, that is an unfortunate name), and to get him away from Evil Ed, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, but it doesn’t do any favors for the likeability of his character. It is forgivable in a movie like this, but it takes a bit to get on board with Charley, because he’s kind of an ass. Playing Charley’s mom, Jane, is the wonderful Toni Collette, in the single mother role she plays so well.
Colin Farrell is outstanding as a psychopath neighbor that turns out to be a vampire. When Farrell’s Jerry appears to be completely human, he is menacing and unsettling. When he appears as a vampire, adding only the fangs and black eyes, he is frightening and cold. When he appears “full vampire”, it doesn’t do much for me. I guess the lesson is to never go “full vampire.” There is even a scene where he looks more like a troll than he does a vampire.
David Tennant plays Peter Vincent, a Criss Angel-type Vegas performer, who has a stage show in which he is a vampire slayer. In reality, Vincent is a Midori-addicted, crass showman who collects vampire slaying artifacts in his penthouse of darkness.
I can’t comment on whether Yelchin is a draw for moviegoers, but I know that Farrell and Tennant are, and they deliver in a fun way that allows this movie to remain a horror film but not take itself too seriously. The filmmakers even give us the original Jerry in the form of a Chris Sarandon cameo.
The anti-remake crew will most assuredly not like this one. To that I say, stick with the original. If you do give this one a chance, don’t expect it to be a shot for shot remake. If you’re looking for a fun night out and you’re in the mood for a little violence or horror, check out Fright Night. I think it’s worth your time.
How much would I pay to see this one again? Out of $10, I would pay $7.50. It is fun and the cast is solid.
Jay Fralick is the co-host of the Wanna Watch a Movie? Podcast
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