Many people are decrying the lack of original ideas in Hollywood. Every year we are presented with sequels, remakes – or as they like to call them now “reboots.” I myself have nothing against remakes per se. Musicians having been covering each other’s songs for years and Broadway made a special awards category just for revivals of plays. It’s always a matter of, does the artist have something new to say with the material. In many cases with movies, you get remakes like the ill-conceived “Psycho.” In rare cases you get gems like “Fright Night.”
From beginning to end “Fright Night” is a solid piece of entertainment. The movie centers on Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin), a high school boy who discovers his new neighbor is a vampire. Yelchin as Charley is perfectly believable as a high schooler desperate to fit in with his new, cool friends. The friend he left behind is Christopher Mintz-Plasse (until he gets a name that’s easier to remember, he will forever be “McLovin’”) as the lovable geek Ed who sets Charley on his vampire hunting quest.
In reality though, “Fright Night” belongs to two actors: Colin Farrell and David Tennant.
Farrell as Jerry the vampire is equal parts charming, funny and menacing. Where as many actors would have overplayed the evil of the character, he toys and plays with his prey – and the audience – seducing you closer until the fangs come out. This is a vampire to fall in love with and he doesn’t have an ounce of sparkle.
David Tennant, best known from Doctor Who, has the showiest role in the movie and he milks it for all its worth. As Peter Vincent, a Chriss Angel style magician and reluctant vampire hunter, Tennant brings a life to the character that is hard to describe yet thoroughly entertaining to watch. He goes from arrogant to self-loathing to pathetic in a matter of seconds all while being completely believable as a character. Not many actors have the chops to pull that off especially while swigging melon liqueur.
Another thing “Fright Night” got right was the 3D. Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) wisely chose to film the movie in 3D, rather than do by computer after the fact. This makes all the difference. “Fright Night” is full of the cheesy 3D tricks that you would expect in a horror movie. Gillespie also uses these effects wisely to give the audience the biggest bang for its buck without creating 3D fatigue by the end of the movie.
“Fright Night” is the right balance of humor and horror without being gratuitously gory. The story telling builds at a steady pace to a very satisfying and fun end. If you are a fan of the original, you will be pleasantly surprised at how this new version pays homage while still stands on its own as a great addition to vampire movie lore.
“Fright Night” opens in the USA on August 18th, 2011 and the UK September 2nd, 2011.
This guest review was written by By Kristin Elliott from The Director’s Cut Radio.