Thursday, 7 June 2012

Fright Night (2011)

"Fright Night" (2011, Craig Gillespie, Dreamworks) is the remake of the original "Fright Night" from 1985 (another 80s favourite of mine, which I will no doubt rewatch this week and review for fun).

Just like in the original, the plot is that young Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) discovers that his new neighbour, Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire and he has to kill him in order to save his girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots), mother (Toni Collette) and neighbourhood.

Now, unlike the original movie, where Evil Ed, Brewster's nerdy 'friend', doesn't believe him about Jerry's true nature, in this version it is Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who is trying to convince Brewster that vampires exist! The results are similar, in that Evil Ed winds up one of the undead, albeit a completely useless one, and poor Brewster has to put him out of his misery.

David Tennant plays Peter Vincent, a gothic magician on the Las Vegas strip who Brewster convinces on board to help him slay Jerry. I've always been appreciative of Peter Vincent's name; Peter Cushing and Vincent Price - Kings of horror in their own right! Very witty.

In the original, Vincent is a down-trodden horror TV host on his last legs, sporting a sort of Dr. Van Helsing/Sherlock Holmes look. David Tennant's Vincent is much more glamourous as the faux goth rock star magician with his supposedly loveless marriage to a beautiful woman and a big show. Also, he loves midori.... Wow.

This remake is good. It keeps enough of the original story to still be a remake, but it modernises the setting, characters and plot enough to make a good modern film in its own right.

The director (Gillespie) and writer (Marti Noxon, one of my most favourite Buffy The Vampire Slayer writers) pay homage to the original movie both subtley and not so subtley.

 The kitchen scene, the night club, the cellar, the sunlight, the "You're so cool Brewster" quote (although, I was disappointed in Mintz-Plasse's delivery of this line to be very honest), and many other nods to the '85 version make this film a good one for fans. Plus the new FX, the gore and the sheer misbehaviour of Mr. Tennant make this film a good modern vampire tale for this generation.

I like Jerry as a vampire; he's scary. As vampires should be. He doesn't glitter, he doesn't play nice and he is the epitome of creepy in nice packaging. He has scary super powers and he's ugly when he's hungry.

There's explosions, threats, secret passageways, vampire senses, blood, guts, gore, mythology, severed limbs, quips and most importantly a visit from the original Jerry, Chris Sarandon, as a victim on the desert highway!

As a fan of the original, and a horror fan in general, I recommend this movie as a fun, modern, casual watch. It's not anything to hide under the covers about, but it's a good film.

[Picture: Dreamworks]