Fright Night manages to pull off two of the most difficult feats in modern day cinema; it makes good on its promise of 3D and is, refreshingly, a worthy remake. Starring Star Trek‘s Anton Yelchin as the harassed Charley Brewster, Fright Night is essentially Disturbia with bite.
We watch as Charley begins to take, thanks to old friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a dislike to his new next door neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell). A charmer with the ladies, Jerry hides a fatal secret that Charley must overcome if he is to survive – no mean feat when such a threat is a hugely powerful vampire.
While it should be considered as a film in its own right we can’t help but compare Craig Gillespie’s to its 1985 counterpart. Whilst the original made encouraging use of the special effects of its day, this 2011 edition spruces up the scripting whilst injecting the script with some much-needed coherence. Yelchin’s Charley isn’t quite so quick to disregard his girlfriend (Imogen Poots) in this version, his 1985 self often seeming to forget he had a girlfriend altogether.
Retaining much of the humour of the 80’s Fright Night, the film manages to balance the comic with the horrifying. Whilst openly, and rather predictably, mocking Twilight, the film benefits from some witty asides. The vamps themselves share the wide-mouthed characteristics of 20+ years ago but are much more menacing, and flexible, today. Unlike the original it is Ed who must try and convince Charley of the vampire presence in the neighbourhood and this ultimately works better in explaining how easy it was for his friend to be swayed toward the dark side.
Jerry is, once discovered, overt about his practices. Whereas in 1985 he concealed his true identity for the entirity of the film, here he openly embraces being discovered, allowing for a humorous post-car crash moment. His brother has been dispensed of making the film far more coherent and slick. The menacing makeshift prison inside Jerry’s closet allows him to store his victims away so he can nibble at them periodically. The clinical feel of the arrangement adds to Jerry’s creepiness as well as heightening the fear felt when Charley finds himself trapped in Jerry’s house.
Yelchin himself provides a character who is as vulnerable as he is courageous, as loving as he is open to stupity, and proves himself perfect for the part. Farrell exudes an air of menace that plays off well against his victims whilst David Tennant, here starring as vamp enthusiast Peter Vincent, rocks a Russell Brand look and a helluva lot of weapons. With the eight ‘fuck’s he utters, he’s a world away from all things Tardis.
The film actively embraces its 3D element, making great use of things flying out at audience members. Fright Night injects a sexiness into the proceedings that was absent in the original… albeit a gnarly kind of sexy that wants to bite and maim you while watching.
Best line: ‘My mother’s very religious’.
Best use of 3D: The throwing of a tin of paint.
Best song>: 99 Problems