Fright Night (REVIEW)

6.8/10

Within today’s contemporary vampire flick market, there seems to be a growing prevalence to re-invent this popular horror genus. Be it sparkling vamps, undead children or turned priests, such new twists often work, yet increasingly draw the genre away from its traditional roots. Fright Night, the remake of Tom Holland’s 1985 same titled movie, attempts a return to a more classic vampire mythos and in doing so, provides an enjoyable and nostalgic watch.

Fright Night tells the story of Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin), a teenager desperate to forget his geeky past and focus on becoming a ‘normal’ guy. But when fellow teenagers start disappearing from his town and sinister neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door, Charley begins to fear for his mother Jane (Toni Collette) and his hot girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots). Could Jerry be a vampire? And if so, what’s Charley going to do about it?

Narratively similar to the original film, Fright Night is essentially a surface touch-up on what could arguably be considered an outdated predecessor. Gone is Jerry’s extravagant personality and grandiose mansion; instead we have a toned down Colin Farrell posing as a night shift construction worker living in a small suburban domicile. Supposed vampire specialist Peter Vincent (David Tennant) is also given a marked facelift: goodbye dusty old horror presenter, hello leather clad showbiz magician that looks somewhere between David Copperfield and Anton LaVey.

The updated version of Jerry works, what with Farrell’s creepy, sinister performance and a noticeably more sadistic element to his personality. Peter Vincent fares less well, which is partly due to Tennant’s lack of ability beyond Dr Who and also down to a very ropey character design. But that said, Fright Night still doesn’t forget the important things, namely periodic jumps, atmosphere and those scary ass teeth which Tom Holland originally used so well.

Fright Night is good old fashioned retro fun, which uses a simplistic, straightforward story to create a film both enjoyable and sometimes creepy. True, hardcore vamp fans will probably find it lacking in gore, terror and intricate vampire lore, yet that’s not really what Fright Night is about. This is an easy, nostalgic watch that I imagine most will enjoy. And considering it’s a remake, it could have been far, far worse.

Rating: 6.8/10

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About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

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