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Fright Night

August 20, 2011

Jerry: Don’t need an invitation if there’s no house.

As a big fan of the original, I was a bit skeptical when I heard they were remaking the 1985 cult classic Fright Night. To my surprise, I was very pleased with this re-imagining of the original. I found it to be fun, witty, and just plain entertaining. We do have a great ensemble cast, including Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, but they are overshadowed by the magnificent performances from Colin Farrell and David Tennent. Although the tone is uneven during the first and second acts, I found Fright Night to be a quality film.

Fright Night follows Senior Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin), who is the most popular guy in his school, and dating Amy (Imogen Poots), the hottest girl in the school. For all this to happen, Charley stopped being friends with Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who is the biggest nerd in school. When new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves next door, many disappearances start occurring. Jerry seems like a nice guy at first, until Charley gains suspicion. Soon after some spying and research, Charley learns the biting truth that Jerry is a stone cold vampire. Unfortunately, nobody has belief in Charley’s accusation against Jerry, including his mom (Toni Collette) or TV vampire hunter Peter Vincent (David Tennent) so he must kill Jerry himself or die trying before he hurts the ones closest to him.

As far as acting goes, I absolutely adored the cast, which were very good in their roles. Being his first “big” lead role, Anton Yelchin did a quality job and really connected with his character. Imogen Poots (yes, that’s her name), Mintz-Plasse, and Toni Collette all gave fun performances. Although they were good, they are nowhere near the talent of David Tennant and Colin Farrell. Farrell is truly spooky as a vampire as well as being great at delivering witty lines, and who can look at his cool-guy attitude and not love it. Tennant is the next scene stealer, as he plays a drunken star of the fictional TV show “Fright Night”. Tennant is the comedic relief, providing some great laughs in-between all of the blood and gore surrounding him.

I think the biggest aspect that makes Fright Night such a strong film is how it gives the audience exactly what they want: a fun time, and that is exactly what was delivered. We’ve been bombarded with poorly made “vampire” movies lately (Twilight) and it’s nice to see a “real” vampire movie with a truly frightening vampire that doesn’t have a “family who plays baseball for recreation” (alright Twilight, I’m done insulting you and how you are so incredibly stupid and lukewarm). With Fright Night, we get a a real vampire because we get all the gore, bites, and frights that you’d expect from a high-octane thrill ride that is never slow and is just plain, stupid, fun.

Next to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Fright Night is the best 3D film of the year. I’ve had to sit through countless of films featuring an array of terrible 3D conversions (Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, and Cars 2). What makes this 3D so great (aside from it actually being shot in 3D) is that the screen doesn’t severely dimmer once the glasses are put on, which was a real treat, and downright impressive considering that a majority of the action sequences are shot at night (because a vampire can’t go in sunlight… y’know). Another great reason the 3D works so well is because it is pretty damn cool seeing David Tennant pointing a large gun right in your face, as well as seeing stakes going through vamps bodies. I wouldn’t call this the best 3D film of the year, but it works well and was a great addition to the film. So if you want to watch it when it inevitably leaks online to Megavideo or something, don’t! This is one to see on the big screen!

Of the few gripes I have with this film, I did find the tone to be quite uneven at times. While this didn’t majorly effect my opinion of this, I did find this to be a bit annoying. This particularly comes in play in the second act, where we cannot decide if this is supposed to be scary or funny, but slowly becomes forgotten by the time the immensely epic third act comes to play. Aside from that, I would like to acknowledge the great effects that are featured. Even though there aren’t much effects that come into play until the third act, they are undeniably and extremely awesome. Seeing Colin Farrell incredibly bloody, with huge, pointy teeth sticking out of his mouth is exactly how I imagined it, and how a vampire really should look like, and that looks pretty darn good.

They couldn’t have picked a more odd person to direct this flick. Craig Gillespie gave us the quirky indie sleeper Lars and the Real Girl and the supposedly forgettable comedy Mr. Woodcock, which I have yet to see. Not only was I surprised that they were remaking a 1985 classic, but they picked one of the weirdest directors out there. I’m proud to say that Gillespie did a quality job with this material, and seemed to know what he was doing for the most part which is why I find him to be a great director. One of the producers of the cult TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marti Noxon, wrote and produced this film. Noxon isn’t a stranger to vampires, and knew how to make this a fun, fright-filled film. 

I believe that there have been way too many horror films taking themselves way too seriously, and not letting the audience have any of the fun (My Soul To Take). There have also been false, lame, and pretentious vampire films (Twilight). Move aside guys, because Fright Night is here, and it’s near-terrific, with great action, a fine script, and all-star performances from David Tennant and Colin Farrell. Additionally, we have pretty slick special effects and a killer 3D conversion, making Fright Night one of the best horror films of the year.

Fright Night = 4 out of 5

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