Review – Fright Night

Guest blogger Emeni Rice reviews Craig Gillespie’ remake of the classic 1980s movie Fright Night.

It’s always a struggle to review remakes of films that I love and have watched so many times that the words and images are ingrained in my brain; to view the re-creation as a stand-alone entity and not connect it to its source. The trouble, I think, is that the originals were just that – original, telling a story I’ve not heard before. Can a remake really bring anything new and fresh to an old audience?

This is my problem as I review Craig Gillespie’ Fright Night (original released 1985).

David Tennant as the bed-hopping lothario Peter Vincent

For those who haven’t seen the original (and who presumably live in caves?) Yelchin plays Charlie Brewster, a high school student with a new neighbour, Jerry Dandridge (Farrell); a vampire neighbour that is. Convinced of Dandridge’s daylight affliction, Brewster seeks the help of Peter Vincent (Tennant), magician and illusionist, to destroy the evil blood-sucker and protect his mum (a sadly under-used Colette) and girlfriend.

Without drawing too many comparisons between the two Fright Nights, Farrell is convincing as an evil vamp (which is a refreshing change from the recent spate of loved up fangers) but plays Dandridge as a low rent thug, very different to Chris Sarandon’s 1985 portrayal of Dandridge as sophisticated and charismatic, possessing an allure that made him powerfully dangerous.

Yelchin is likeable as Charlie Brewster, a boy torn between geeky friends of his past (enter the excellent Christopher Mintz-Plasse as ‘Evil’ Ed) and leaving that past behind to establish a ‘normal present’ with his hot girlfriend.
Refreshingly, Gillespie has made the women of the story, Brewster’s mum and girlfriend, more involved and hands-on with the action, rather than submissive and docile or downright oblivious.

The star of Fright Night is assuredly David Tennant, playing bed-hopping lothario Peter Vincent, and not solely because of those tight leather trousers (hubba, hubba!).

Revamped (sorry) to be a fast-paced and witty comedy-horror, with a cameo from one of the original cast members, Gillespie has made a fun romp of a movie which audiences new to Fright Night will enjoy, particularly its target teenage audience. My hope is it will generate enough interest for Fright Night 2 (the original, naturally) to be re-released on DVD so I won’t have to fork out £116 to buy it (current price on Amazon!).

But for us old fans, it lacks the dark, seductive atmosphere, the superb soundtrack and the 18 certificate of its predecessor. I want to say “you’re so cool Brewster, I can’t stand it,” but sadly, you’re just not cool enough.

Senior Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) finally has it all—he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the hottest girl in high school. In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But trouble arrives when an intriguing stranger Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right—and everyone, including Charlie’s mom (Toni Collette), doesn’t notice. After witnessing some very unusual activity, Charlie comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on his neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone that he’s telling the truth, Charlie has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself in this Craig Gillespie-helmed revamp of the comedy-horror classic.

Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is a high school senior who’s on top of the world—that is until Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door and Charlie discovers that he is a vampire preying on the neighborhood.

Fright Night
Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Colette and Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Cert: 15
Running Time: 106 mins

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