Fright Night



By Gary Murray


Starring Anton Yelchin, Collin Farrell and David Tennant


Written by Marti Noxon


Directed by Craig Gillespie


Running time 106 min


MPAA Rating R


Selig Film Rating FULL PRICE


The original Fright Night was about a kid who has a vampire move in next door.  As the kid begins to figure out what is going on in the neighborhood, he contacts the local ‘horror host’ to help him slay the undead creature.  The horror host doesn’t believe the boy until he sees the vampire for himself.  The host eventually finds the inner courage to take on the blood-sucker.  It was a charming little flick that had comedic elements and some real frights.  Well, Hollywood loves to mine an idea to death and has made a new version of the film. 


While many of the elements of the first film are here, this Fright Night is a very dark turn of a motion picture.  Set in the suburbs outside Las Vegas, Charley (Anton Yelchin) is a kid living in a dying neighborhood.  His real estate agent mom Jane (Toni Collette) believes that the neighborhood will bounce back; Charley just sees the vacant buildings. 


Next door, they get a new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) a construction worker doing the night shift in Vegas.  All the ladies in the neighborhood find him mysteriously attractive which includes Charley’s girlfriend Any (Imogen Poots).  Charley’s geeky friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) believes that the new neighbor is a vampire and has the circumstantial evidence to prove it. 


After some mysterious events happen, Charley begins to see that Ed may be on to something.  Looking for help, our young hero goes to see a Chris Angel style magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant).  He finds that Vincent is not the man who Charley hoped he would be.  Eventually, Charley and Peter must join forces to take on the undead, saving both Mom and Amy.


While I was not a big fan of the original flick, I had a heck of a time watching this remake.  They took all the basic elements that made the original film work and twisted in into an angle not expected.  For those who have not seen the first flick, there is no need to know the elements in order to enjoy this Fright Night.  There is a sole reverence to the first flick that had all the old geeks give out a chuckle. 

There has to be made mention of all the effects with Fright Night starting with the 3D.  This is the kind of crazed drama that just needs that touch of the 3rd dimension.  More than once, the horror is expanded by the spiking effects.  Ashes just dance out into the crowd and arrows come straight at the audience.  The CGI images work well, with exploding vampires and demons going screen to screen.  One mid-point death is almost worth the admission price in of itself.


Director Craig Gillespie is a master of keeping the suspense on a taunt slim string.  He plays the film as if were a giant chess game, laying element upon element on his cinematic board waiting for the moment to pounce.  When this film finds that moment, it almost become a roller coaster ride of elements, delivering scare after scare.


Colin Farrell does a fantastic job as the vampire named Jerry.  His brooding smolder makes even eating an apple look menacing.  There is this swagger in everything he does as is he challenges every person on the planet to mess with him.  He sees no match for his undead strength. 


I found the performance of David Tennant just a bit lacking.  While the character makes sense within the confines of the story, he never commits to the role.  It just makes one want for the original actor Roddy McDowall. 


Even though this was a successful remake, the question begs to be answered—Are there any original ideas in Hollywood anymore?  I know that vampires are the hot little genre of the day, but why not just make new films instead or recycling movie after movie. 


With the success of so many of these, I’m sure that we are going to see more and more 1980’s flicks at the box office.  What’s next—Risky Business starring Justin Bieber and Mylie Cyrus?  How about Sophie’s Choice with Kim Kardashian?  Platoon the Musical with the cast of Glee?  I’m sure someone in Hollywood is working on these ideas right now. 




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