I am guilty yet again for seeing a remake without having first seen the original...surprise surprise. After seeing the 2011 release of "Fright Night" (and loving it) I will no doubt eventually get my hands on the 1985 version. For now however and for the purposes of this exercise, we will have to look at the 2011 release of "Fright Night" as a stand-alone film.
"Fright Night" (2011) directed by Craig Gillespie stars Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette, "Doctor Who's" David Tennant, Imogen Poots and of course, Irish bad-boy Colin Farrell. Initially, when I had heard that they were making a re-make and had announced that Farrell was to be playing the infamous vampire, I had doubts (as I always seem to do and as per usual am proven completely entirely wrong). Farrell makes a very good vampire and as I mistakenly type-casted him as just something kinda nice to look at, he portrayed quite the foreboding character.
|A scene from 2011's "Fright Night"|
The story line at first glance appears to be quite simplistic and teetering on the very edge of what one would brush aside as a typical cliché teenage fantasy gothic horror type film without any real depth and so shallow of character development it wouldn't even be worth viewing this film to appreciate it as something lesser than every little boy's horror-fantasy. I am guilty of initially reading the plot line having not seen the original film and initially thinking that yes, I will go see this film, but no I don't think I will end up enjoying it for what it's worth. Wrong! What's different about "Fright Night" is that aside from the suburban setting and the story predominately taking the perception of a teenage boy's quest to save his girlfriend (and mother) from his vampire neighbour is that it is truly entertaining. The CG is not over-the-top, the script is well written without too many lines which make you sit there in angst and roll your eyes at how corny it is, the acting is solid, the action sequences well timed, the horror element is well-honed and the music is complimentary. The dialogue was superb and I felt that the actors were well cast.
|David Tennant plays Magician, Peter Vincent|
Casting is paramount. Period. You could do this film with a different set of actors and if those actors were not well suited to the roles then you would not have the same end result. I won't spend this paragraph gushing over how good Colin Farrell was as Jerry Dandridge...yes...Jerry the Vampire...terrible name but it worked - and this corniness was played on throughout the film, which is what made it all the more affective. Rather, I was more blown away by that English dude who plays Doctor Who in that Sci-Fi TV show that is called - oh that's right, "Dr. Who". David Tennant plays a Magician slash Vampire Guru and he does it so well. Of course, his character is drunk as a skunk for majority of his screen-time and in between bickering with his exotic temptress of a stage assistant girlfriend, he offers some good and some not so good advice to the frightened teenagers, and even gets a slice of the action at the end. His character was probably one of the major highlights of the film. It was so ridiculous that it fit in with the ridiculousness of the story.
|A mouth full of teeth...|
I am overly critical and very picky with my vampire films. I think I have mentioned in a previous post how important it is for vampire stories to stick to tradition - or try to remain faithful to it as much as possible. That's another element which I like about this film. A tradition that is not commonly utilized in vampire films until recently (Swedish film "Let the Right One In" being one of them) is the notion that in order to enter one's house a vampire must first be invited in. In the past this has been rarely touched upon, but for "Fright Night" this old tradition was present. Of course you have your token garlic, wooden stakes, crucifixes and holy water - all of which make an appearance in this film. It's those gothic elements that make the myth of the vampire what it is. So kudos for maintaining tradition.
All in all, I think if you're looking for something fun to watch on a Friday evening, or a DVD night, without having to invest too much thought and brain power, and you just want something to give you a thrill then "Fright Night" shouldn't disappoint.
I give this film a solid 7/10.