Fright Night 2011: Review

Fright Night is a remake of the 1985 horror film of the same name.  At first glance I was uninterested in viewing this film because of the stigma that has attached itself to modern horror remakes;  Commonly they are just bland rehashes in an attempt to cash in on brand recognition  and draw on something with a built in audience, which made me quite dismissive.  Add on to that the fact that any vampire movie squeezed out of the anus of Hollywood in this day and age SHOULD be meet with a roll of the eyes and a dismissive wank.  Regardless of all that, one name drew me to this film and kicked me in the ass to finally watch it; Marti Noxon.  She is an accomplished writer/producer of such shows as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, both shows of which I am a fan and I had a gut feeling that she would treat this project with the attention it deserved and after viewing my gut was correct.

The Movie follows the same basic premise as the original;  Anton Yelchin is the main character named Charley, a high school student living with his single mother (Toni Collette) in a uniform looking suburb of Las Vegas, when his former best friend (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) alerts him to the fact that his new mysterious next-door neighbor named Jerry might be a vampire.  This kick starts Jerry life into a knock down drag out nightmare.

If your getting sick to your stomach with lovely dovey bullshit vampires in the vein of Twilight then this might be your medicine.  Colin Ferrell plays the vampire “Jerry” and he does it right.  Ferrell is less Edward and more a modern version of a blood hungry Dracula all be it a more frightening version.   In the movie itself he is described  as “The Shark from Jaws” which is pretty spot on.  He’s intimidating and can ramp up tension in a scenes just with his eyes alone, and much like Jaw he’s circles his prey with dark eyes and then devours them.  Ferrell is surprisingly good in this film and stands out every time he’s on screen.

Another Scene stealer is David Tennant as Vampire/Ocult expect and Criss Angle knockoff Peter Vincent.  This character was done wonderfully in the original by Roddy McDowell as a Hammer-era TV host seeked out by Charley to help him deal with Jerry.  This time around Peter Vincent is a madori chugging Vegas magician with shitty eyeliner and the update works so much more effectively than I had originally thought.  Tennant is best known as Doctor Who but here channels his inner Russell Brand/Criss Angel-douchbagginess and is great in this film.

Good acting performances, a strong script, fun and scares made this a surprisingly enjoyable film, something I can’t remember seeing when watching a modern horror film for some time.  Some negative points were how under used Toni Collette was, she’s a fantastic actress but isn’t given a hell of a lot to do.  Also some of the 3-D gags sorta take you out of the movie for a moment; Otherwise this is a solid movie all the way around.  Yelchin is great in the lead role, Farrell and Tennant gives awesome performances,  there’s gore, laughs, a gear up scene which has been woefully absent from horror movies for a long long time.  This movie has a classic 80’s horror feel, but comes off as new and modern, something not easily accomplished by horror remakes.  Well done.

B+

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~ by ATOM on February 16, 2012.

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