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Review: Fright Night

Aug. 18, 2011by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Things seem to be looking up for Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin). After years of being bullied, he's finally become one of the "cool kids", and landed a smoking hot girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots). However, his former best friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is convinced local teens have been falling prey to Charlie's new neighbor; Jerry (Colin Farrell), who Ed's convinced is a vampire. Charlie starts to believe Ed's story once he goes missing, and upon discovering Jerry's secret is marked for death by the hungry vampire.

REVIEW: I have to admit something totally unfashionable before getting to my FRIGHT NIGHT review. I've never been a huge fan of the 1985 original, which, to this day, has a huge cult following and is beloved by most children of the eighties. Having been born in '81, I was too young for it when it first hit theaters, and I only saw it as a jaded nineties teen. Other than admittedly great work by Roddy McDowell, and Chris Sarandon, the film never did much for me, and my fondest memories of it are from playing the old FRIGHT NIGHT video game on a friend's Amiga.


Suffice to say, I wasn't totally offended when I heard FRIGHT NIGHT was getting a remake (although it would have been a different story if they were remaking NEAR DARK or THE LOST BOYS). I walked into FRIGHT NIGHT with no baggage whatsoever, and pleasantly, I had a total blast with it from start to finish.

It's basically a jacked-up version of the original film, with lots of nods and winks, but enough originality to be its own thing. It helps that the film has a hip script by BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER alum Marti Noxon, and rock solid direction by Craig Gillespie, who previously helmed the charming LARS & THE REAL GIRL.

BUT- the thing that really makes FRIGHT NIGHT pop is without a doubt the cast, which is pitch-perfect. When I heard Colin Farrell was playing the vamp, I dismissed this as a paycheck role, but even if it was, Farrell nails it, and seems to be having a blast as the comically intense Jerry. A scene where he tries to con Jerry into inviting him in on the pretense of needing a six-pack of beer had the audience howling with laughter, and it really bodes well for Farrell's return to big-budget blockbusters (although his indie work in films like IN BRUGES and THE WAY BACK is superb).


As Charlie Brewster, we get Anton Yelchin, who's been acing his career over his last few films, with a standout performance in the upcoming LIKE CRAZY (which I caught at Sundance), and he makes a very likable hero, walking a fine line between comedy and horror throughout, with him never playing it too much one way. Imogen Poots, a stunning young English actress, makes an appealing, sweet love-interest, and a believable on-screen match with Yelchin.

However, the big props here have to go to David Tennant who takes over for the late, great Roddy McDowell as Peter Vincent. The role's been totally re-imagined, with him initially playing Vincent like a cross between Criss Angel and Russell Brand, rather than the Vincent Price style hero of the original. He's phenomenal, and some his profanity-filed tirades are damn funny. My only beef with Vincent is that a last-minute revelation involving his past with Farrell's character seemed tacked on.


My other beef is with Evil Ed, as Plasse comes off as the only one who's really doing an imitation of the guy in the first film, and he just doesn't compare. This isn't really Plasse's fault, as the role is underwritten. Ed could have been completely written out of the remake, and it wouldn't have made a lick of difference. However, Evil Eds final line is surprisingly affecting, and its a nice little character moment well acted by Plasse.

Other than those minor issues, FRIGHT NIGHT was bloody good fun (and I do mean bloody- it wears it's R-rating as a badge of honor). Heck, even the 3D's pretty good (although it was seriously out of whack for the first few minutes or so- speaking to the dangers of 3D exhibition), with lots of stakes, and charred vampire embers coming out of the screen throughout. If this was indeed post-conversion, it's probably the best I've seen, if still ultimately unnecessary. Even in good old 2D, FRIGHT NIGHT is totally worth checking out, and a surprising tasty late-summer treat.

Source: JoBlo.com

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3:37PM on 08/22/2011

8.5/10

I thought it was fantastic. Check my review:

[link]
I thought it was fantastic. Check my review:

[link]
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12:54AM on 08/20/2011
Fun movie. It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised. How can you go wrong with 3D blood splattering in your face?
Fun movie. It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised. How can you go wrong with 3D blood splattering in your face?
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8:25PM on 08/19/2011

7/10

I had fun with it. Really surprised with Colin Farrell and Imogen Poots... man, she is ripe!
I had fun with it. Really surprised with Colin Farrell and Imogen Poots... man, she is ripe!
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+4
1:23AM on 08/19/2011
I'm with you on the original film (I'm not that big a fan of it either), but apparently we disagree yet again on this remake. It had better casting for the most part (though no one can replace Roddy McDowall) and a better tone, but it still had pacing issues like the original. An improvement, but only slightly. Here's the full review:

[link] ">
I'm with you on the original film (I'm not that big a fan of it either), but apparently we disagree yet again on this remake. It had better casting for the most part (though no one can replace Roddy McDowall) and a better tone, but it still had pacing issues like the original. An improvement, but only slightly. Here's the full review:

[link]
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12:21AM on 08/19/2011
Thumbs Up!
Thumbs Up!
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+1
9:59PM on 08/18/2011
I'm with you on the original. A friend said I had to see it several years ago, as I missed this 80's flick (and I LOVE 80's flicks), but I wasn't all that impressed. It's too bad about Ed's role, considering the original Ed was probably the most entertaining character of the original. Glad to hear it doesn't really suck, though I'm not sure I will be checking this out in theaters.
I'm with you on the original. A friend said I had to see it several years ago, as I missed this 80's flick (and I LOVE 80's flicks), but I wasn't all that impressed. It's too bad about Ed's role, considering the original Ed was probably the most entertaining character of the original. Glad to hear it doesn't really suck, though I'm not sure I will be checking this out in theaters.
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3:56PM on 08/18/2011
Nice to hear they didnt screw this remake up & yes the original is pretty cheesy but such an 80s film you can't help but love.
Nice to hear they didnt screw this remake up & yes the original is pretty cheesy but such an 80s film you can't help but love.
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3:38PM on 08/18/2011
Like Chris, I was never big on the original. Sarandon aside, I felt it bland and somewhat tedious, not as much fun as the Hammer horror films it lampooned. Evil Ed annoys the piss out of me and there were plot holes you could drive a '68 Charger through. But I still dug the concept, so for me its one of those movies you can remake. I might check this out.
Like Chris, I was never big on the original. Sarandon aside, I felt it bland and somewhat tedious, not as much fun as the Hammer horror films it lampooned. Evil Ed annoys the piss out of me and there were plot holes you could drive a '68 Charger through. But I still dug the concept, so for me its one of those movies you can remake. I might check this out.
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1:07PM on 08/18/2011
AWESOME. Ill definitely be checking this out i need a good last summer flick!
AWESOME. Ill definitely be checking this out i need a good last summer flick!
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12:46PM on 08/18/2011
There's a difference between Criss angel and Russell Brand?
There's a difference between Criss angel and Russell Brand?
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12:03PM on 08/18/2011
I'm so happy to hear they didn't botch this.
I'm so happy to hear they didn't botch this.
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10:47AM on 08/18/2011
I'm pumped to see it. A lot of people think this was a conversion, but it was actualy shot in 3D. "Conan" however, was not.
I'm pumped to see it. A lot of people think this was a conversion, but it was actualy shot in 3D. "Conan" however, was not.
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10:35AM on 08/18/2011

Agree

I agree 100% with your review. Evil Ed was indeed a very odd part of the film. He just felt kind of thrown in and then thrown out. Otherwise, a great choice role for Farrell and Tennant.
I agree 100% with your review. Evil Ed was indeed a very odd part of the film. He just felt kind of thrown in and then thrown out. Otherwise, a great choice role for Farrell and Tennant.
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9:18AM on 08/18/2011

Question

When we say bloody, do we mean, simply "bloody" or do we mean gruesome and fairly brutal? That's what I'm trying to discern about this one: it looks like it goes a little darker and nastier than I'd hope for. I don't like the whiff I caught from Ferrel's seen with one of his lady victims. Seems like it'd soil the "fun" element.
When we say bloody, do we mean, simply "bloody" or do we mean gruesome and fairly brutal? That's what I'm trying to discern about this one: it looks like it goes a little darker and nastier than I'd hope for. I don't like the whiff I caught from Ferrel's seen with one of his lady victims. Seems like it'd soil the "fun" element.
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10:39AM on 08/18/2011
Everyone has their level of tolerance, but I would say it's not TOO bad. I didn't find any of it especially gruesome. Typical vampire movie levels of violence
Everyone has their level of tolerance, but I would say it's not TOO bad. I didn't find any of it especially gruesome. Typical vampire movie levels of violence
9:05PM on 08/18/2011
Thanks for the feedback, sir.
Thanks for the feedback, sir.
8:44AM on 08/18/2011

Good review, had a similar experience

but I +1 americanmoviefan on checking your proofreading, Chris. While we're at it, "it's" is the contraction for "it is" not the possessive. "Its" is the possessive term.
but I +1 americanmoviefan on checking your proofreading, Chris. While we're at it, "it's" is the contraction for "it is" not the possessive. "Its" is the possessive term.
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8:32AM on 08/18/2011

USE SPELL CHECK AND PROOF READ

"Dangerous" instead of "Danger" and using 'Jerry' twice when you meant 'tries to con Charlie into inviting Jerry in".

Otherwise, solid review, has me excited for the film as I hated the original's campyness but loved the concept.
"Dangerous" instead of "Danger" and using 'Jerry' twice when you meant 'tries to con Charlie into inviting Jerry in".

Otherwise, solid review, has me excited for the film as I hated the original's campyness but loved the concept.
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10:42AM on 08/18/2011
Grammer Nazi.
Grammer Nazi.
3:54PM on 08/18/2011
lol are you serious, the campiness was the whole point of the original movie & the fact about vampires really existing in the real work as oppossed to the TV show within the movie.
lol are you serious, the campiness was the whole point of the original movie & the fact about vampires really existing in the real work as oppossed to the TV show within the movie.
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