Fright Night (2011) Review

Fright Night Remakeby Jesse Miller, MoreHorror.com

I must confess that I was never a huge fan of the 1985 original – for all its tongue-in-cheek humour, it just didn’t work for me. So, I welcomed this remake with open arms when I first witnessed the trailer, getting excited over what the cast and crew could bring to the table.

Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is just your average teen, which only recently advanced ahead into the “cool” ranks at high school, abandoning his nerdy old friend “Evil” Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and scoring himself the bodacious babe Amy (Imogen Poots) along the way.

When “Evil” Ed tries to convince Charley that the reason behind disappearing classmates is vampires, Charley initially dismisses the notion. However, a few conversations later with sinister Vampire Jerry (Colin Farrell) - the brand new neighbour next door - and he starts to believe the notion himself. Let the horror commence.

I’ve become somewhat of a jaded viewer when it comes to recent horror remakes simply because so few of them do anything for me -mostly a lot of them are slick but soulless affairs. I walked into Fright Night feeling somewhat confident that I had figured out how it was all going to play out. Then the film actually surprised me – it raised the stakes, dramatically changing everything I thought I knew. I was left in the dark on how events were to unfold – and I absolutely loved it. With a screenplay from the wonderful Marti Noxon (who might feel at home in a vampire film, considering her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer), you’d expect no less.

Directing at the helm here is Australian director Craig Gillespie, an unusual choice given his recent work, but his work here is excellent and he effectively crafts some scares while staging some masterful sequences – the ‘car sequence’ (without giving too much away) is one particular sequences that stands out.

The film soon becomes startling, so much so that I was wondering if they stripped away balancing the humour with frights and just went for a jet-black horrific vampire film. The introduction of Las Vegas magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant) changes that as well, changing again what I thought I knew and bringing in some much needed comic relief – and the man is hilarious, bringing a lot of swagger and laughs to the table.

Anton Yelchi gives a fantastic performance as Charley and Colin Farrell is a lot of fun as the sadistic vampire. Toni Collete provides some great support as Charley’s mother, Jane, as does Imogen Poots as Amy, who is just a lovely written character that has more to do than scream and look pretty.

I feel Christopher Mintz-Plasse is underused as “Evil” Ed and that’s one element of the remake that disappointed me, because the original “Evil” Ed and that outcome of his character felt rushed to me, as it is here. They could’ve made it so it had more of an impact. Also, look out for the cameo from Chris Sarandon, who played the original Jerry.

Fright Night was a pleasant, bloody surprise and one well worth catching on the big screen. The 3D here, while actually quite effective when the blood and cuts come flying, makes night sequences quite murky and hard to see. I would recommend catching the film in 2D but if you’re a 3D fan, then by all means.

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