Review: Fright Night

By Richard Brooks

Hollywood seems to be having a passionate affair with the idea of remaking movies during the last couple of years and the results have been pretty uneven.

There are the bad remakes like The Hitcher, there are the okay remakes such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, and there are the brilliant remakes such as Oceans Eleven. Thankfully, the remake of 1985s horror-comedy, Fright Night, falls into the okay category.

Following the story pretty much along the same lines as the original; the story is of teenager, Charlie Brewster, who has left his geek past behind and become something of a popular student at High School, much to the dismay of his friend, Ed.

Ed confronts Charlie to tell him that his new neighbour Jerry, is a vampire but Charlie is reluctant to return to his geek roots, in favour of impressing his new-found friends in the popular clique.

Unfortunately, Ed disappears, just as Charlie stumbles across evidence that proves his former friend’s theory about Jerry. Fearing for his life, Charlie turns to Las Vegas illusionist and occult expert, Peter Vincent, for help.

Vampires are all the rage in horror cinema today so it is refreshing to see a vampire who would tear flesh and drink blood rather than act like a moody disco, glitter ball. And the horror does come thick and fast, throwing out jumps and jolts in favour of blood and gore drenched violence.

Written by Mad Men and Buffy the Vampire Slayer scribe, Marti Noxon, the script itself is a smart piece of writing and feels almost like it belongs to the self-referencing films of the 1990s, rather than being a loving ode to the Hammer Horror film series, which the original film was parodying.

The characters are well written with most of the juiciest lines belonging to Ed, as played by Christopher (McLovin) Mintz Plass, who does not nearly get enough screen time in this film as he should.

The two, main ringleaders of this film seem to be Jerry (Colin Farrell) and Peter Vincent played by (David Tennant). Farrell’s Jerry is less smooth and charming, like the original, and more of a blood-thirsty animal who uses sex to lure his victims to their death. Tennent’s Peter Vincent is all swagger and cockney charm, going from showman to con-man, then coward, and eventually, to being the hero in a brilliantly written, character arc.

Unfortunately the three other actors, while written well, fail to perform to the scripts standards. Anton Yelchin who plays Charlie comes across as a bit of a drip and actress Imogen Poots, who plays Amy, has nothing to do but serve as a convenient plot device.

Technically speaking, the film is nothing special and throws in too much CGI along with a lot of unwanted and unnecessary 3D moments. Director, Craig Gillespie’s lack of experience with a big budget, studio film shows in the action set pieces and also Ramin Djawadi’s score is not as memorable as the original composition by Brad Fidel.

In short, Fright Night comes across as the love child of 30 Days of Night and Disturbia and is a decent vampire film, despite it being unable to surpass the original.

 

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