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A Fright-ning Remake

This week’s offering was the remake to the 1985 vampire classic Fright Night. Directed by Craig Gillespie of Lars and the Real Girl, Fright Night opens on a fairly isolated sub-division in Las Vegas and follows nerd-gone-douchebag Charley Brewster, not to be confused with Charlie Bartlett, played by Anton Yelchin. When a mysterious, good looking guy moves in next door, people begin to go missing.

You generally know the story.

I like Anton Yelchin. I think he has some range. I’m not sure I understand the “recovering nerd” part of his character. It is a device to get him with the cute girl, played by Imogen Poots (I don’t care if it makes me sound juvenile, that is an unfortunate name), and to get him away from Evil Ed, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, but it doesn’t do any favors for the likeability of his character. It is forgivable in a movie like this, but it takes a bit to get on board with Charley, because he’s kind of an ass. Playing Charley’s mom, Jane, is the wonderful Toni Collette, in the single mother role she plays so well.

Colin Farrell is outstanding as a psychopath neighbor that turns out to be a vampire. When Farrell’s Jerry appears to be completely human, he is menacing and unsettling. When he appears as a vampire, adding only the fangs and black eyes, he is frightening and cold. When he appears “full vampire”, it doesn’t do much for me. I guess the lesson is to never go “full vampire.” There is even a scene where he looks more like a troll than he does a vampire.

David Tennant plays Peter Vincent, a Criss Angel-type Vegas performer, who has a stage show in which he is a vampire slayer. In reality, Vincent is a Midori-addicted, crass showman who collects vampire slaying artifacts in his penthouse of darkness.

I can’t comment on whether Yelchin is a draw for moviegoers, but I know that Farrell and Tennant are, and they deliver in a fun way that allows this movie to remain a horror film but not take itself too seriously. The filmmakers even give us the original Jerry in the form of a Chris Sarandon cameo.

The anti-remake crew will most assuredly not like this one. To that I say, stick with the original. If you do give this one a chance, don’t expect it to be a shot for shot remake. If you’re looking for a fun night out and you’re in the mood for a little violence or horror, check out Fright Night. I think it’s worth your time.

How much would I pay to see this one again? Out of $10, I would pay $7.50. It is fun and the cast is solid.

Jay Fralick is the co-host of the Wanna Watch a Movie? Podcast

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  1. eric says:

    I’m still waiting for remakes of “Killer Clowns from Outer Space”, “Chopping Mall”, or maybe “976-EVIL”, which to be more relevant to the digital era would be re-named “[email protected]”. And “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”? C’mon, why aren’t there any really awesome sequel remakes, like for “Puppetmaster IV”, “Mannequin II”, or “Trancers 5”?

  2. Scott S says:

    David Tennant plays the Roddy McDowall part? Huh. I’ve heard that this is a decent enough remake, but I have good enough memories of the original from my childhood that I’ll probably be put off this one. I’ll probably get it from Netflix, along with the original.

  3. Jess says:

    Alisa, happy birthday!!!

    I also went to see this as a bday present to myself last week. Never heard about this movie until comic-con where I found out David Tennant is a sexy (albeit reluctant) vampire hunter. !!!!!!!

    I’ve never seen the original, and thought even the trailer for this remake looked lame. So I actually was somewhat ashamed to go see it but I can’t say no to DT. Turns out, it was much better than I expected (well… my expectation was zero so…). I agree with you that I like how it doesn’t take itself seriously, that it knows it’s a campy “horror” film! Even Colin Farrell, whom I don’t really like as an actor, was great! I would definitely watch this again when it comes out on DVD!!!

  4. alisaj29 says:

    Watching this movie on birthday on Monday, can’t wait!!

  5. Kelly says:

    I agree w PJ – it was a great movie and so glad to see DT on the US big screen. I also agree w the review. The stance of the movie was that it didn’t take itself too seriously. It still had hilarious parts and some downright serious moments. A good romp!

  6. PJ says:

    I loved this movie. I am definitely a huge fan of the original and I feel like this topped it in almost every way.