Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fright Night (2011)

Seen: At Loews Boston Common, in 3D.

I saw the original Fright Night for the first time last year at the Coolidge Corner Horror Marathon, and while I enjoyed it, I was pretty surprised when it was getting a remake. It just seemed sort of unnecessary. Is there a built-in audience (besides Doctor Who fans) for this movie? Regardless, the Fright Night update is pretty sleek. The story doesn't change much, but the characters do. Charley (Anton Yelchin) is a once-geeky teenager who gave himself a cool makeover and landed a hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots) in the process. His former best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) notices certain people in their Las Vegas neighborhood going missing, and figures out that Charley's new next-door neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire. Charley catches on eventually and enlists the aid of big-name magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant), a supposed vampire hunter, to take care of business.

It's a silly premise, and in many ways it's a silly movie, but Fright Night really does juggle comedy and spookiness quite well. It's got some good color schemes, a couple of truly tense, creepy moments, and a whole lot of blood (ohhh yeeeah). The cast is great, with most of the best scenes driven by Colin Farrell's slow-talking gleeful suavity and David Tennant's hilarious leather-heavy outfits and drunken ramblings. They're both having so much fun it's a joy to watch them chew all the scenery they can sink their teeth into. LITERALLY LOL.

As a remake, it works pretty well. It successfully updates the script and characters (the girlfriend's hotter but also more useful, Peter Vincent's a Criss Angel-y performer and more frequently shirtless, etc), but maintains the original's story and goofy/gory vibe. I think the "used to be geeky but now is kind of cool" aspect to Charley's character is over-emphasized, and I kind of missed the idea of Peter Vincent being a hero to him, but those are small concerns. Overall it's a good time, and it exceeded my expectations.

4/5

PS I forgot to say that I really loved Chris Sarandon's cameo! He was the best part of the original and it was awesome to see him pop up in this to interact with the new Jerry (though it took me a minute to recognize him).

Pair This Movie With: Well obviously there's the original for a comparative double feature, or perhaps another vampire-themed comedy like The Lost Boys or Suck.

9 comments:

  1. i've read so many different reactions on this. i never saw the original but this sounds like fun. i'm inclined to think it will be terrible but i also want to believe positive reviews like this. nobody else has mentioned that it's a comedy, everyone else seems to have taken it very seriously. therefore you must be right.

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  2. Nice to see a horror remake work for once.

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  3. Yeah, that was my take on it. I was pleasantly surprised as well. I remember seeing the original in 1985 though, and it's still superior.

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  4. Toby: The original is indeed fun, especially since Chris Sarandon is so good as the vampire neighbor. I don't know why people are against the remake, it's not like the original was some sacred horror classic. They're both campy and silly but packed with legitimate scares in between.

    Film Geek: Yeah I'm impressed!

    Alex J: Glad you agree! I think I like both films about the same, but for different reasons. Since I saw the original at an all-night marathon my memory of it is a little hazy though.

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  5. Nice Review Alex! The tone may be all over the place, but it still has a lot of fun to it with blood, guts, and gore flying at you with good performances from the cast, especially Farrell who seems like he’s just having a ball with this role.

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  6. Chris Sarandon has a cameo?? Now I really need to go see this...

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  7. yay chris sarandon! i need to see this.

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  8. As a big fan of the original I'm unsure about this remake. But I haven't seen it yet so I'll reserve judgment. I didn't like the trailer but from what I've heard it does what it says on the tin. Good review Alex. (and thanks for adding my link!)

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  9. Haha sweet review, I was pretty impressed with the movie, great acting by Chris!

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