Fright Night

Fright Night 2011

 

{Fright Night opened in Seattle on Friday, August 19, and is playing at The Metro, The Meridian, and Thornton Place} 

I’ll own it: when I heard they were making a Fright Night remake, I cringed inside. I’m a HUGE fan of Chris Sarandon’s vampy womanizer and William Ragsdale’s wide-eyed horror-fan teen in the original, and who could ever replace Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent and Stephen Geoffreys as Evil?

Modernizing the story a bit, this Fright Night moves the action to Las Vegas, painting main guy Charlie (Anton Yelchin, who’s pretty much made for this part) as a teen who’s recently shed his nerdiriffic role-playing D&D monster movie past to hang with the cool kids. This is all so he can hold on to his smokin’ hot girlfriend, Amy, played by cute-and-sexy-at-the-same-time Imogen Poots (sorry, Amanda Bearse, but uh. This chick? Hot).  

When former best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)—nicknamed “Evil” because of his occult obsession—approaches Charlie with the news that his GQ-esque neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell, who I am starting to like more and more) is a vampire who’s been eating their classmates, Charlie brushes it off as a desperate attempt to get his attention. But after Evil disappears and Jerry’s activities become increasingly suspicious, Charlie starts to think his new next door neighbor might actually have fangs. 

Enter the 2011 version of the original’s Peter Vincent: a Criss Angel-like magician who puts on a flashy Casino vampire-filled show. And this is actually where I think the filmmakers were the cleverest. The 1985 Vincent was a late night horror movie host; something that I just don’t think would translate to the youth of today (oh you kids. get off my lawn!). By making Peter a showy, drunken performer who still shows a hint of believing in the supernatural, they created a perfect update for the character. And David Tennant is fantastic in the role. 

Throwing in Toni Collette as Charlie’s initially clueless mom, a bunch of pretty cool vamp-slaying gadgets, explosions, car chases, an uber-creepy hidden hallway involving lots of locked doors and padded rooms, and (yay!) lots o’ bloody sprays and splatter, amped up the suspense and made this horror-loving girl very, very, very happy. Farrell really rocks it as schmarmy vamp Jerry, and there’s even an awesome cameo by Sarandon. 

While not quite as cheese-filled as its predecessor, the remake maintains the tongue-in-cheek kitsch that made the original work so well. This is the kind of horror movie that shouldn’t be executed seriously, which is what makes it so damn entertaining! And even though McLovin’ (that poor guy—he’ll be stuck with that forever) couldn’t quite pull off Evil in the same way that Geoffreys did, the film was a highly enjoyable ride. It’s well worth your hard-earned dollars. 

This is all just my long-winded way of saying “thanks” to the movie gods for snagging Whedonphile Marti Noxon as the screenwriter—I have a feeling she’s the one who saved this remake from doomy doom. 

A note about the 3D: it's pretty cool during some effects, but used sparingly, and the film is already so dark that having that extra dimming effect the glasses create seems to make it even harder to see/pick out details in most scenes. I think regular ole' 2D would be a fine way to see it. 

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