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Fright Night (2011 remake)

The 2011 remake of the 1980s horror-comedy.

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The Rise of The Vampire Called "Jerry"...But Where is Count Bob?

  • Jan 13, 2012
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 from the original film. I’ve always believed that the goal of a remake should be able to administer to its more modern audience, and mayhap even expand on the original’s premise. Well, the remake doesn’t exactly expand or improve on the original, but it sure does the things a remake should do and updates the material quite well with different goals in mind.

                    Christopher Mintz-Plasse in "Fright Night."

                   Imogen Poots and Anton Yelchin in "Fright Night."

The same basic plot mechanics applies to this 2011 remake with some changes. Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) this time around is a recovering dweeb/nerd which is a far change from the original’s Charlie who was a fan of gothic horror. Charlie had distanced himself from his former fellow dweeb-friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) so that he could keep up with his new found buddies and to maintain a ‘friendship’ with his school hottie-buddy named Amy (Imogen Poots). Things seemed to be working out, that is until his new next door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell), turns out to be a vampire. Now Charlie must team up with a so-called Television occult expert named Peter Vincent (David Tennant) to confront Jerry the vampire….

Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) and screen writer Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) knew exactly that this remake is amidst the recent “Twilight” craze and so they execute the film for this generation. I am not saying that it follows that “Twilight” craze, but rather, it makes some subtle points to make fun of that franchise. What made the film fun to watch is the way it manages to blend creepy intense imagery, sincere wit and sensibility wrapped around a feeling of dread in its script; all the while maintaining a semblance of B-movie camp necessary to make this remake stand on its own. Honestly, the film de-emphasizes the things that made the original film fun, and then wraps those devices around its characters that fit this generation.

                     Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell in "Fright Night."

                     Imogen Poots in "Fright Night."

Sure, the school interactions felt obligatory and a little boring, but it is good to see the story maintain solid pacing that is able to charm its way to its audience. It avoids some unnecessary dialogue and develops the story through the characters and its scenes, it manages to keep a tone of playfulness despite the display the creepy and violent imagery. I liked the way it maintained a balance of being not too overly ‘camp’ and kept a sense of restraint from becoming too dark and unsettling. It is also refreshing to see the film switch the character dynamics without really changing its main premise. It was everything one should expect from a remake, and as a plus, the film is intrinsically gory and bloody too; so it really felt like a vampire movie.

I suppose what really drove the film’s success is the way the performances took command of the scenes. I was surprised how well Farrell fit the role of the vampire. I mean, he was intense and pale, and yet there was something about him that caught attention. His performance truly defined the Jerry character; he had qualities and habits that were different and pretty unsettling as he was a race that originated from the Mediterranean. I liked the way the film avoided the shape-changing characteristics of the original and kept to a vampire who is mean, cold, cunning, seductive and feral (reminded me of 30 Days of Night). The CGI effects were alright, but there were moments that they did look fake and cheap, not too much to hurt the film, but it was definitely noticeable.

                    David Tennant as Peter Vincent in ``Fright Night.''

                   Colin Farrell as Jerry in ``Fright Night.''

In this generation, I thought the changes to the Peter Vincent character fit as David Tennant plays him as a sort of a Chris Angel and yet without the pizzazz and make up, he appears to be a regular guy as Charlie with a haunting past. This is the area that I liked from the remake, it made the vampire hunter much more rounded and well executed into its plot; Vincent this time around wasn’t the cheesy character played by Roddy McDowall. Ok, he had some ‘cheese’, but just enough to keep him significant to its premise. Yelchin did well as Charlie Brewster and he really did appear to be the dweeb who became cool enough to form chemistry with beauteous Imogen Poots who had that delicate appeal to her while she just screams and oozes raw sex appeal.

Sure, I liked 2011’s “Fright Night”; but the film is far from perfect or a great film. The script and pacing were good, but it does miss some intricate plot details as the supporting cast seemed to be just be there and that community of theirs were too small, that I wondered where everyone was at. I also felt that the film lost some of its footing towards the last act that it almost succumbed into becoming a campfest. I suppose the direction wanted it to be part of its charm, but I thought that the ending was too much of an anticlimax, and it was too underwhelming to match the goodness of the first half.

So is it better than the original? Well, you cannot compare two films with two different goals in mind. “Fright Night” may not be a supreme success, but it is good as far as remakes go and definitely can stand on its own. The writing is sharp, it manages to credibly swap dynamics and had enough homage to the original without becoming a shot-per-shot re-interpretation that it was enough to entertain me. It also had enough gore and blood to satisfy the horror fan in me, it was deftly paced and legitimately funny that it was a joy to watch (only thing that would've made it better would've been Count BOB). Yep, seems like they are shaping up with some of these 80’s remakes, and this film is one of the better remakes out there to earn a light recommendation.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
Teaser poster for "Fright Night." David Tennant as Peter Vincent in "Fright Night."


The Rise of The Vampire Called

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January 13, 2012
I saw this a couple of weeks ago; I just couldn't into it as I could have simply because I'm such a huge fan of the original. It did have some gory parts in it which I loved (exploding in the sunlight scared the hell out of me LOL) and I agree with you that the vampire effects were great; he was hideous and that was cool. I couldn't get used to Peter Vincent's character; he struck me as comical when he resembled Chris Angel (funny you said that cuz I immediately thought of Angel too) but I admit I missed Roddy McDowell's play on the character. I think I may have liked it better if I had not loved the original so much, but I did think it was really cool that Chris Sarandon made an appearance in it. I agree with you Will it was not bad for a remake and the blood and gore was appealing to me as it was with you. Love your write up!!!
January 15, 2012
Yeah, I know the original's goals were totally different from this remake. But I suppose this was why I enjoyed watching this remake. Remember that this film came out during this "Twilight" craze, while the original came out when loving classic horror flicks was somewhat not the cool thing around. I liked the dynamics of the characters actually, because seriously while McDowell's character was charming during that time, do you think he would apply to this day and age? I liked the original more as a teen, but for some reason, upon repeat watches, its charm had died out.
January 15, 2012
Yeah you're right - what else is new? LMAO I didn't think of it that way I guess and this is one of the many reasons I read YOUR make me think outside the box! Thanks Will...
January 13, 2012 your write-up but, don't think I'll watch this one. I wasn't that into it to begin with and have been trying to steer Nando away from it lol.
January 13, 2012
I can really imagine Nando wanting to see it. C'mon now, just give it a look for Nando LOL!
January 13, 2012
Yeah I liked this more than I thouht I would but like you said it is not perfect, great review.
January 13, 2012
I liked the first half a lot, sadly, it wasn't able to keep up its momentum....still an entertaining film!
More Fright Night (2011 remake) reviews
review by . December 24, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*** 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? …
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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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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