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Fright Night (2011 remake)

The 2011 remake of the 1980s horror-comedy.

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Fun remake of an excellent original.

  • Dec 24, 2011
*** out of ****

I have some fond memories of Tom Holland's "Fright Night" from when I watched it just a few months back; and it's upon those very memories that I built my expectations for the 2011 remake. Having seen the original - which is a classic in vampire cinema -, I came in expecting vampire mythology of both the classic and modern variety, plenty of gore, plenty of special effects, and plenty of style. Can I truly say that, with those expectations set out, I was disappointed? No, I suppose I can't. This "Fright Night" is a fast-paced, energetic thrill-ride with enough trickery in both the visual effects and screenwriting fields to pass as a pretty good night at the movies.

Sure, it certainly isn't perfect; and it can't quite measure up to the original no matter how close it gets (and that's pretty darn close, if you ask me). But as a remake, I'd say it's pretty solid; after all, we live in a world where Hollywood shells out dozens of J-horror remakes (or at least there was a time when they did this perhaps more often). So the fact that this remake of "Fright Night" is actually a pretty entertaining one is, in its own, impressive. Under the direction of Craig Gillespie, it's the kind of modern vampire tale that works, if only to certain extents.

Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is a teenager living in the suburbs of Las Vegas. He shares a home with his mother (Toni Collette); the father is apparently out of the picture. It would seem that life for Charley pretty much begins at school; where he can be with his new-found friends (the "cool" crowd) as well as his beautiful girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots). He also has one other acquaintance; "Evil" Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who is the kind of guy that you'd rather not know at all. Ed is what most would call a nerd; he has his fixations, and at present, his obsession is with vampires. He informs Charley that his new neighbor - a man named Jerry (Colin Farrell) - is indeed one of them.

Charley ignores Ed's concerns and continues to show general hospitality towards the boy next-door. However, he keeps Ed's "illogical" musings on the subject of vamps in mind whenever he sees Jerry; there's an ancient part of vampire mythology that says the creatures cannot enter a home unless they are invited in, and when Jerry stops by to ask if Charley can lend him a few beers, our hero observes the fact that he never quite makes it to the level of entry.

But that's not enough to prove anything of what Ed said. However, there is one night where Charley gets especially intrigued by Jerry and a beautiful girl that he has invited over; the situation just seems a bit odd. About as interested as he is disturbed, Charley sneaks into Jerry's house to investigate; and discovers that his friend's claims were right. Jerry is a blood-sucking creature of the night.

So we now come to the best part of the film; the formal introduction of a very important character, Peter Vincent (David Tenant). Vincent is the host of a television program in which she stars as a talented magician; although the real illusionist is the special effects team behind the show. Regardless, he appears to know a great deal about vampires; so Charley approaches him and asks for proper guidance on how to kill one. Vincent - a collector of rare artifacts commonly found in vampire lore - doesn't quite believe Charley at first, but is soon forced to when matters get from bad to worse. Jerry gets violent; and so must the protagonists. And once both sides are equally equipped, the fright night begins.

The filmmakers must have done their homework; because this is the rare remake that really works. Like Zack Snyder's "Dawn of the Dead", the writers chose to take the same approach with their new screenplay for the re-imagining; and their efforts have ultimately paid off. Whether you particularly like this new "Fright Night" or not, it stays true to the spirit of the original (there are some clever homages to the earlier film) and I quite liked that. The cast couldn't be more perfect - with Tennant stealing the show at any chance he gets - and there's a pretty good balance of horror and humor. There are big laughs, big jumps; and it all amounts to a bloody good time. I admit, it isn't for everyone; not even a lot of the people who truly love the Holland-directed original. But Gillespie kept me entertained through visuals and performances; for that, I am pretty darn grateful. "Fright Night", the 2011 version, has earned my seal of approval.

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January 13, 2012
Your thoughts mirror my own with this movie. I enjoyed it!
More Fright Night (2011 remake) reviews
review by . January 13, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The Rise of The Vampire Called
When I first heard of the remake of 1985’s horror-cult hit “Fright Night”, I have to admit I wasn’t really skeptical and yet, I really wasn’t that much excited about it either. I mean, the original film was a product of its generation; it had its clever charm to me when I was teen, but it never kept the same charm to me once I’ve gotten older. I was hopeful to have a grittier and darker horror film but deep down, I knew a remake just wouldn’t stray too far …
review by . August 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Back when I was a wee lad and the only way to see movies after they left theatres was cable or your VCR, I stumbled across the film Fright Night. It was a bit cheesy, but it was a lot of fun, and I had enjoyed Roddy McDowell ever since I first saw him in Planet of the Apes. It was a film I was deeply fond of, and so I approached word of a remake with great trepidation. Thankfully this movie is at least as good, if not better, than the original. The story follows Charlie Brewster (Anton …
review by . August 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         It’s fashionable to bemoan the tragic life of a vampire, as recent films such as Let Me In and the Twilight saga have so clearly demonstrated. In all fairness, they make a valid point: There’s nothing appealing about vampirism, which transfers a desperate need for human blood and bestows the curse of soulless immortality. The interesting thing about Fright Night is that it takes everything we know about this blatantly parasitic lifestyle …
Quick Tip by . December 18, 2011
Not the crappy remake id expectes when i saw the trailer. Aside from one very quick and dumb moment it was very un-twilighty. Peter Vincents character though different from the origional came off looking like a sexy Russel Brand, and though im not a fan of the actor, Evil Ed's character was an improvement over the origional..way less irritating. I liked that the film makers pretty much stuck to having the vampires look the way that they did in the origional instead of just throwing on some canine …
review by . August 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Back when I was a wee lad and the only way to see movies after they left theatres was cable or your VCR, I stumbled across the film Fright Night. It was a bit cheesy, but it was a lot of fun, and I had enjoyed Roddy McDowell ever since I first saw him in Planet of the Apes. It was a film I was deeply fond of, and so I approached word of a remake with great trepidation. Thankfully this movie is at least as good, if not better, than the original.    The story follows Charlie Brewster …
Quick Tip by . May 19, 2011
It was inevitable. It seems like lately two things that are sure to happen in Hollywood must be remaking films from the '80s and making films about vampires for teenagers. So, of course, the idea of remaking the classic horror comedy Fright Night was a no-brainer. And that's exactly the impression it gives in the new trailer. The original film was humorous, quirky, and edgy, but it never took itself too seriously. This film on the other hand looks banal and humorless and as if it were emulating …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


Arriving amid a flurry of dopey sequels and dudes with power tools, 1985's Fright Night came as a welcome blast of fetid air for the horror genre: an affectionate spoof of classic monster movies that also managed to deliver some genuine scares, as well as a pair of top-notch performances by Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall. The 2011 revamp (apologies for the pun) can't boast the same novelty factor, but it does a surprisingly good job at speaking for itself, just the same. Director Craig Gillespie's film follows the same basic blueprint as the original--high-school kid (Anton Yelchin) suspects that his next-door neighbor (Colin Farrell) may be a Creature of the Night, enlists celebrity (David Tennant) for help--but with a number of smart alterations, particularly the decision to move the setting to the desolate outskirts of Vegas, where unexplained disappearances and nocturnal lifestyles are par for the course. (Kudos to cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe, who gives the nighttime scenes a musty, tangible vibe.) Writer Marti Noxon, a Buffy vet, keeps the dialogue light, while also delivering some sharp insights about the state of today's Twilight-savvy teen. (In perhaps the biggest switch from the original, the barely veiled gay subtext has been replaced with a cautionary tale about outgrowing your friends.) On the debit side, Gillespie and Co. can't always replicate their source material's atomic-clock timing, with a few promising scares undone by ...
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Director: Craig Gillespie
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Release Date: August 19, 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Marti Noxon
Runtime: 120 minutes
Studio: Touchstone Pictures, The Weinstein Company, Dreamworks
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