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Fright Night (2011 remake)

The 2011 remake of the 1980s horror-comedy.

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Fright Night" just might be perfect for those looking for a dose of nostalgia and some suspense

  • Aug 19, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+3
Twenty-six years ago, "Fright Night" premiered in theaters and went on to become a fondly remembered title amongst horror fans. The movie cleverly combined horror and humor to create a fresh take on the vampire and teen horror genres which had started to grow stale. While the movie spawned a largely forgettable direct to video sequel, the original film has remained popular over the years. So, when I first heard that they were planning on remaking the film I was skeptical as I felt it would be very difficult to match the original film.

Boasting an impressive cast which includes Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Toni Collette, the remake does not try to reinvent the wheel, but instead takes the formula of the original and creates an entirely new entry into the saga.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Yelchin stars as Charlie Brewster, a young man who is trying to balance watching over his single mother, and his growing relationship with a girl way out of his league named Amy (Imogen Poots). He is also wrestling with becoming part of a cooler crowd at the cost of alienating his geeky former best friend, Ed, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Colin Farrell plays the handsome and suave new next door neighbor who easily charms Charlie's mom, played by Toni Colette. Unbeknownst to his neighbors, the charming and charismatic Jerry, played by Colin Ferrell, is actually a vampire who's come to their Las Vegas suburb to continue his nighttime hunts. Ed has become suspicious of the recent disappearances in their community and confides to Charlie that he's had Jerry under surveillance and knows that he is a vampire.

Needless to say this does not sit well with Charlie, who distances himself further from Ed. But when Ed goes missing, Charlie decides to do some investigating of his own. Charlie turns to a local Vegas performance artist named Peter Vincent (David Tennant), whose vampire-themed show portrays him as an expert in fighting the undead. While at first skeptical over Charlie's claims, a few devastating confrontations with Jerry and his minions forces Vincent to rethink his role. The two unlikely allies soon find themselves in a deadly race against time to defeat Jerry and save their loved ones before it's too late.

The film cleverly combines horror and comedy and does a good job of providing some suspenseful moments in between the blood and gore, managing to squeeze in more than a few laughs along the way. While not overly scary, the visual effects work is solid and aside from the converted 3-D is a really enjoyable to watch. The film would've been much better had it been shot in 3-D or simply left as a 2-D film as the conversion really didn't offer anything of value as is often the case in these lab converted efforts.

The cast works very well with one another and Farrell cheekily introduces a few new wrinkles to the vampire lore. I really enjoyed David Tennant's performance and should they do a sequel I certainly hope that they bring him back. Anton Yelchin gives a reliable performance but I was surprised that Christopher Mintz-Plasse did not have a bigger role but he does have some memorable moments in the film. What really impressed me was that the film did not attempt to do a shot-by-shot remake of the original but instead took the premise of the original and offered a fresh take that easily could have been issued as the third chapter in the series rather than a reboot. While there were nods to the original, outside of the premise it was very much its own film.

The film is not going to set any high marks for new standards in horror nor is the plot fresh and original. It simply knows what its target audience and source material are and sets a course right down the middle without attempting to deviate too much one way or another. "Fright Night" just might be perfect for those looking for a dose of nostalgia and some highly suspenseful, fun entertainment.

Three stars out of five

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September 01, 2011
I loved the original and the new twists that it brought to the vampire legend ("You have to believe for the cross to work") and I'm a big fan of horror comedies which are not as easy to make as people seem to think they are. On the other hand I hate remakes and 6 out of every 10 films hitting the screen seem to be remakes--we can also look forward to a remae of John Carpenter's THE THING--oh goodie! To me 3 stars out 5 isn't enough to put me in a theater seat, but have seen 4 out of 5 elsewhere. I guess I'll brave the 3-D and curse the darkness afterwards.
 
August 19, 2011
I am a HUGE fan of the original Fright Night and just can't see anyone else playing Jerry (Chris Sarandon) and especially Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowell); but I'll admit I may give this one a try when it comes out on DVD for nostalgic reasons LOL; I thought they would have changed the whole story line though! Thanks for the review.....
August 19, 2011
Same here. I was a fan of the original too and it was mainly because of the original cast, especially Roddy McDowall and Chris Sarandon. I'm not sure how I feel about the remake. While I'm glad that it might reintroduce people to the original by association, I'm also a little sad that they had to remake it at all... but who knows, maybe it will be a fun film.
August 21, 2011
I agree Sean--I would think they would have changed the whole story and maybe it will be a fun film - but I know I'll probably be comparing it to the original, especially when it comes to the characters themselves!! I don't know why these film makers can't leave well enough alone LOL
 
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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 . 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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Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
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I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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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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Details

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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