Fright Night (2011)

August 22, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

The vampire craze continues with this remake of the 1985 cult classic, and this time around Charlie’s popular, Jerry is a beast and the backdrop is suburbia not too far away from the neon bright Las Vegas. This remake of Fright Night actually does somewhat capture the essence of the original, but it’s very much its own movie. As a vampire film, Fright Night stands out because it’s a fun ride with a real threat; no sparkles in this film.

Director Craig Gillespie sets the pace just right, as the film builds up momentum as it goes with barely any wasted time. The script is sharp, with just the right amount of comedy. People that are afraid that the special effects might seem too out of touch, as I did when I saw the trailer, might be surprised at how well the special effects are executed. When Colin Farrell, as Jerry, morphs into a demon-beast, it’s a gore worthy transformation.  The body contortions, the frantic super-human speed and vampire regeneration are all a sight to behold. Overall, this is flat out legitimate B-movie entertainment.

The cast does a solid job, and the standout is Colin Farrell as Jerry Dandrige. Farrell is a smart, brooding threat with fangs. He bulldozes his way to his prey instead of dances around them, and in the subtle moments, he can be very charmingly menacing.  Constantly sniffing around, with shifty eyes and that creepy smile, Farrell is fun to watch as Jerry. The other standout is David Tennant, playing Peter Vincent: the magician and vampire expert extraordinaire. Tennant, as Peter, is an alcoholic coward that’s obsessed with vampire history, and not to mention he’s hilarious with his rock-star attitude. Anton Yelchin, as Charlie, is a solid lead, and sometimes cheer-worthy in his courage to stand up to the big bad vamp.

Fright Night is a fun ride, where the vampires are actually a dangerous threat, the transformations are demon-inspired, and the main vamp has a Jaws-like bite. The film plays by the original vampire rules, delivering the type of vampire film that’s been out of the game for awhile. Unlike most of the vampire flicks released recently, Fright Night has a vicious bite.

Potential Drawbacks:

For those that are in love with the 1985 version, this film may not be what you’re looking for, since it’s a whole new look at Fright Night. It’s not a shot for shot remake, like the 1998 version of Psycho. However, at the end of the day, it’s a remake that doesn’t do enough to make it even a little unpredictable.

Anton Yelchin does a fine job, but his performance is nothing too special or demanding. Some may believe that the film needed more David Tennant.

The film starts off a bit fast, as we immediately get thrown into the action where we see Jerry in vampire-mode, but the film might have benefited from building up the Jerry character a little more slowly. After the quick start, the film slows down a bit, until Evil Ed starts snooping around. Additionally, some might think there could have been a better actor for Evil Ed.


For those that love the 1985 version–watch out for a special cameo.

Film Recommendations:

Lost Boys
Fright Night (1985)
Near Dark

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