Published on August 19th, 2011 | by simeon0
Twenty-six years ago, “Fright Night” premiered in theaters and went on to become a fondly remembered title amongst horror fans. The movie cleverly combined horror and humor to create a fresh take on the vampire and teen horror genres which had started to grow stale. While the movie spawned a largely forgettable direct to video sequel, the original film has remained popular over the years. So, when I first heard that they were planning on remaking the film I was skeptical as I felt it would be very difficult to match the original film.
Boasting an impressive cast which includes Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Toni Collette, the remake does not try to reinvent the wheel, but instead takes the formula of the original and creates an entirely new entry into the saga.
For those unfamiliar with the series, Yelchin stars as Charlie Brewster, a young man who is trying to balance watching over his single mother, and his growing relationship with a girl way out of his league named Amy (Imogen Poots). He is also wrestling with becoming part of a cooler crowd at the cost of alienating his geeky former best friend, Ed, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
Colin Farrell plays the handsome and suave new next door neighbor who easily charms Charlie’s mom, played by Toni Colette. Unbeknownst to his neighbors, the charming and charismatic Jerry, played by Colin Ferrell, is actually a vampire who’s come to their Las Vegas suburb to continue his nighttime hunts. Ed has become suspicious of the recent disappearances in their community and confides to Charlie that he’s had Jerry under surveillance and knows that he is a vampire.
Needless to say this does not sit well with Charlie, who distances himself further from Ed. But when Ed goes missing, Charlie decides to do some investigating of his own. Charlie turns to a local Vegas performance artist named Peter Vincent (David Tennant), whose vampire-themed show portrays him as an expert in fighting the undead. While at first skeptical over Charlie’s claims, a few devastating confrontations with Jerry and his minions forces Vincent to rethink his role. The two unlikely allies soon find themselves in a deadly race against time to defeat Jerry and save their loved ones before it’s too late.
The film cleverly combines horror and comedy and does a good job of providing some suspenseful moments in between the blood and gore, managing to squeeze in more than a few laughs along the way. While not overly scary, the visual effects work is solid and aside from the converted 3-D is a really enjoyable to watch. The film would’ve been much better had it been shot in 3-D or simply left as a 2-D film as the conversion really didn’t offer anything of value as is often the case in these lab converted efforts.
The cast works very well with one another and Farrell cheekily introduces a few new wrinkles to the vampire lore. I really enjoyed David Tennant’s performance and should they do a sequel I certainly hope that they bring him back. Anton Yelchin gives a reliable performance but I was surprised that Christopher Mintz-Plasse did not have a bigger role but he does have some memorable moments in the film. What really impressed me was that the film did not attempt to do a shot-by-shot remake of the original but instead took the premise of the original and offered a fresh take that easily could have been issued as the third chapter in the series rather than a reboot. While there were nods to the original, outside of the premise it was very much its own film.
The film is not going to set any high marks for new standards in horror nor is the plot fresh and original. It simply knows what its target audience and source material are and sets a course right down the middle without attempting to deviate too much one way or another. “Fright Night” just might be perfect for those looking for a dose of nostalgia and some highly suspenseful, fun entertainment.
Three stars out of five