This film manages to have some laughs and have some genuinely cool horror moments, too. Good thing they’re calling it a horror-comedy, yes?
I think we’re all aware of how we feel about remakes. If you can’t add something to the original then why are you making the same thing over again? It’s all too rare that a remake is ever worth the effort. But every once in a while, a remake surprises you. And folks, today you may color me surprised. This remake of Fright Night is actually fun.
Charly Brewster, after thinking his friend Ed is crazy, actually suspects that his new neighbor, Jerry, is a vampire. Of course now everyone thinks Charley is crazy. But is he?
Well, of course not. You’ve surely seen the original back in 1985, right? It was lots of fun, too. Chris Sarandon as the neck-biting neighbor was well cast at that time. He was suave, good looking and made a good contemporary vampire. Well, if you think he was good, wait ’til you see Colin Farrell. I probably wouldn’t have expected it, but he was perhaps the perfect choice to play this role now. He’s got the looks, the appeal, and he can come across as awfully dangerous. Frankly, the casting is great all around. Anton Yelchin plays Charley and he’s great. He’s a regular guy that seems to have things going for him. He never overdoes it, and he still has enough testosterone to be believable as someone that is prepared to fight a vampire. And in the role of Peter Vincent, who was played to perfection by the great Roddy McDowell, is perhaps the only guy I would accept: David Tennant. There’s not an ounce of Doctor Who in his character, with the possible exception of his own trademark of the raised eyebrow. Here he plays a Vegas magician with a gothic vampire themed spectacle of a show, though he collects artifacts and studies vampire lore with a passion. Toni Colette plays Charley’s mom and does so with great competency. I find she adds some kind of weight to a role that generally could be played by anyone. Charley’s girlfriend is played by the lovely Imogen Poots. She has a funny last name but is really lovely. And she handles the role well, despite that it’s another role that might have been played by any number of women. An of course, Charley’s friend Ed is played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Of course he plays a dork – at first. But then he gets a turn to have some fun later on.
This film manages to have some laughs and have some genuinely cool horror moments, too. Good thing they’re calling it a horror-comedy, yes? This Fright Night remake is rated ‘R’ but it’s not that strong. There’s some violence, of course, and some language, but it’s pretty close to a PG-13 if you ask me. But the Disney name was involved, so that would make sense, the big babies. Much of the blood effects are CG, but it isn’t so much an issue here. Most of it is used in darker scenes so it’s not bad. Though, if you’re a purist about your practical effects, then since I obviously noticed the difference, you might get a little hot under the collar. There were actually a couple moments in particular about these effects that were funny (purposely) and could only really have been accomplished with CG, so I let it slide this time. Otherwise, the effects are well done and they take into consideration the stylistic elements from the original and their updating is nicely executed.
They do a great job keeping the mood consistent and it never feels off- this is a dark, funny film; perhaps a little darker than the original. It doesn’t have that goofy mid-80’s feel. C’mon, let’s face it, some horror movies from the 80’s definitely have that ‘feel’. You know, a dated goofiness that can take any seriousness out of a scary scene? This has a good tone all the way through.
Again, Colin Farrell is awesome, and David Tennant is great as the jaded, boozing Vegas magician with an obsession for vampires. They are really the strong points here. But Fright Night was definitely a surprisingly fun movie. And NO, I did not see it in 3-D. 3-D is dead to me, man. DEAD TO ME. So go check it out, it’s worth a look. An easy three kittenhands. Maybe three and a half.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, relieved to see a decent remake for a change.