Fright Night (2011)
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writer: Marti Noxon, Tom Holland
Based On: “Fright Night” (1985 Film) By: Tom Holland
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Country: United States
MPAA Rating: R
Time: 106 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Horror
USA Release: 8/19/2011
On DVD (USA): 12/13/2011
With this year delivering many remakes, “Fright Night” is one that is surprisingly as good, maybe better then the original. With a story that delivered great comedy, thrills and entertainment, keeping true to the original story, while also bringing new ideas to it. So if you liked the original or are just looking for a fun time at the movies then “Fright Night” is the way to go.
In “Fright Night” we follow Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin), he is now popular and is dating one of the hottest girls in school, having turned his back on his old friends and geeky past. One day after class his ex-best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), tells him that their friend Adam is missing, and that he should help find out if he is ok. However Adam isn’t the only student in their class missing, and Charley of course doesn’t believe it’s anything to worry about, thinking that they must have just skipped school. But that doesn’t sit well with Ed, so Charley agrees to check things out. Later after school, Charley and his girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) head back to his house and once there get introduced to the new neighbor Jerry Dandridge (Colin Farrell). But soon Charley is getting called away as Ed threatens to blackmail him with a video if he doesn’t come help look for Adam right now. While at Adam’ place, Charley gets told by Ed that his new neighbor Jerry is a vampire, and after other things get said Charley leaves having been fed up with Ed. At first Charley doesn’t believe, but when strange things begin to prove other wise, like Ed not coming to school the next day, he decides to go investigate.
Before seeing this, I made it a mission to see the original 1985 “Fright Night” that way I could understand why a remake was made and also compare the two. And although the ‘85 version is now a cult classic, it stands strongly on it’s own, so there was no need to make a remake, but of course Hollywood doesn’t really care as long as there is money to be made. Even so, this new version takes that original concept and structures it for a new generation, making it as good possible better than it’s predecessor. The director Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”) did a great job of taking this fun horror movie and stylizing it in the right way by bringing out more threats and also an exciting adventure. However there are a couple time that I found the story getting a bit slow, having scenes go on too long, that being said it was only a couple times so it overall doesn’t effect the movie that much. Something I didn’t see as a big deal was how everyone has been saying this movie has a big product placement push, yes they name and show a few things, but that’s real life, we see that stuff everywhere, so I just say it’s staying true to the aspects of real life, and besides it’s not distracting. But anyways like the directing, the writing was also done extremely well. Having taken not only the original concept from the 1985 movie but also the tie-in novelization that came out the same year. That novelization went deeper into the friendship of Charley and Ed, and the reasons for the subsequent ending their friendship. Also keeping with the same amount of comedy, they also used many of the iconic lines from the original. But overall the story added more thrilling scenes and also involved the supporting cast more than the original. As for the score done by Ramin Djawadi, his use of strings keep up the creepiness of the story as we move closer to the thrilling showdown. Another thing I liked was the make-up effects which paid homage to the original concept, while also improving on the manner it was done. Although it was obviously done with CGI, it was done in a very minimal way that it looked much like the original.
Now for the supporting cast that was surprisingly more active then the original, it featured David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Tennant and Mintz-Plasse were both great in their respected roles, Tannant being a sort of Criss Angel meets Russell Brand, delivered some great scenes though wasn’t featured as much as Roddy McDowall was in the original. The same can be said for Mintz-Plasse’s Ed, who although was used more at the beginning, disappeared for much of the movie only returning for one final showdown near the end. That being said he gave a lot of the best lines in the movie. As for Poots and Collette, their roles were much bigger then in the original, Collette played Charley’s mom, who in the original was only seen less then a hand full of times, this time around she is involved much more in the action including in a major chase scene. Poots, who played Charley’s girlfriend seemed to have a much bigger role than the one that Amanda Bearse had. She was not only given many more regular scenes, she was involved much more in the action. There is also a surprising cameo by original Jerry Dandridge, Chris Sarandon, so keep a look out for him. Now to get to the leads, Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell, who both like always are very reliable delivering great performances. Farrell’s Jerry was just a cool and calmly sadistic as Sarandon’s was in the original, but was more frightening when it came to his killing. In this version, Jerry seems to be less careful with his actions, not caring who’s watching or tying being inconspicuous. As for Yelchin, he plays it with a bit more cool, having instead of figuring it out himself he gets told by Ed that Jerry is a vampire. He is a lot more resourceful in this, but like in the original will still go to the same lengths to keep his girlfriend and family safe. Yelchin makes a pretty good action hero, and it’s no surprise that he is a great lead having proved that a while ago in films like “Charlie Bartlett” and “Fierce People”. The same can be said for his comedy, as he has great comedic timing and delivery, just like he did in the films I just mentioned.
To sum up, although “Fright Night” didn’t necessarily need to be remade, it is one of the rare remakes that does just as well and possibly better then the original. It got a great cast of actors known for their comedy, which helped make this all the better. And although Farrell had a lot to live up to playing Jerry, he made it his own and gave a great performance. This version also paid a big respect to the original not only with famous lines and scenes but also with props, like Jerry’s love of apples this time being green instead of red. So if you’re a fan of the original, defiantly give this one a try and hopefully you’ll be just as entertained as I was.