Movie Review: “Fright Night”Published by Clay Cane on Friday, August 19, 2011 at 12:00 am.
Summary: In this remake from 1985, a vampire named Jerry (Colin Farrell) lives next door to a nosy teen named Charley (Anton Yelchin) and is offing the suburbanites in a Las Vegas neighborhood. Charley tries to kill him off with the help of Peter Vincent, the host of a Vegas show called Fright Night.
Review: When the original Fright Night hit theaters in 1985, the vampire genre had already been sucked dry, but nothing like it is today. Now there is an endless flow of vampire films and television shows and, of course, the billion-dollar franchise Twilight, which has colonized box offices across the globe. So, the Fright Night “remake,” and I use that word loosely, could easily be summed up as a montage of all the exhaustive vampire flicks we’ve seen over the past ten years. A sexy vampire stalks horny teens and stupid adults. Fangs, blood-filled bites and exotic stares are the meat of the film, which ends with a nerd turned cool kid saving the day—and getting the girl.
The term “remake” is used quite loosely in all of these incarnations of 80’s horror films. In reality, the Craig Gillespie-directed film is just another blood sucker movie and probably wouldn’t have received the Hollywood green-light if it wasn’t for the label of Fright Night. However, the 1985 version was no groundbreaking piece of work. It was a surprise hit, but not a classic in the horror genre like Poltergeist, Friday the 13th, or A Nightmare on Elm Street.
A strong cast slightly balances out a bland movie. Colin Farrell makes his role as Jerry the Vampire as workable as possible, with his smooth acting and eerie presence. To the screen writer’s credit, Jerry is no True Blood or Twilight vampire. He isn’t in love, fighting blood-sucking urges, or seeking out his next vamp bride. He is a stone-cold vampire, almost like a serial killer, and isn’t trying to make friends.
The other characters work as best as possible but the stand-out is an animated Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who is best known for his role in Kick Ass. Mintz-Plasse as the bitter geek makes the film, with the best one-liners and his maniac energy—he would’ve worked better as the lead and his presence was missed when he disappeared for half of the film. The character of Peter Vincent (David Tennant) had an important role in the original; here, he is portrayed as a trashy Brit, and disposable. These are just a few of the flaws that ruin a movie that—like most horror films—started strong in the first five minutes, but lost steam when the plot had to kick in.
Fright Night stumbles along in 3-D, which is not worth the extra charge, with tolerable special effects. The invention of CGI has certainly cheapened special effects in horror films and Fright Night is a prime example.
The action is sustainable and the viewer is rarely bored but, overall, the creators of Fright Night tried to make a lukewarm horror flick from the ’80’s seem cool and relevant in 2011. They failed. Nonetheless, this was still better than the atrocious remakes of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Fright Night is in theaters today.