It's going on two weeks since I have seen this movie and not shared anything about it. It probably would have been another two weeks were it not for a conversation with my man DJ Episode that reminded me I still hadn't written up a quick review. Or at very least it would have taken it getting to the dollar show to alert me how I late I was with my assessment. But judging from the lack of response "Fright Night" has been getting with folks, I don't think anyone would have noticed my lateness anyway so I'm good.
In this remake, Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) seems to finally have things going his way just in time for his senior year. He's dating one of the prettiest girls in the school and running with part of the "in" crowd. Even though it means sacrificing his relationship with once best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plaase). But things start to unravel when Ed brings to his attention that the new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire. Charlie eventually finds out the hard way that it's actually true. When he discovers it's up to him to bring an end to Jerry's feasting on the town, he solicits the help of famous showman Peter Vincent (David Tennant) to take him down.
I was not too keen about them remaking this movie in the first place. I was one of the biggest doubters. The reason being that the 1985 "Fright Night" was one of my all-time favorite 80s flicks. So much so that it you will inevitably see it as a Vault Pick sooner than you think. I still don't understand why Hollywood insists on remaking so many of these 80s classics and this was no exception. About the only thing that caused me to give this new one a chance was the fact that they entirely strayed away from the cheesy element and decided to go more with a horror slant.
A film's rating has more bearing on me than you would think. Especially nowadays when they make too many "horror" films with the PG-13 rating. That always means they're going to hold back on the gore that should usually makes. So the fact that this new "Fright Night" was "R" was a huge bonus for it. I was interested to see how they would do with a little more freedom and switching up the direction. But most of all, I wanted to see what Farrell would do with that lead.
The part of Jerry was one that I would dare say Chris Sarandon made iconic in the original. Sure, not so much as legendary as say Darth Vader, but definitely enough so that it was extremely memorable. If I were casting someone in an updated version of that part I don't know if I could think of something better than Farrell. He's got a great mix of brooding quality and sarcasm that is tailor made for that part. He was just the right fit for this part. Even though everytime I see him I immediately think of my co-worker who could nearly pass for his identical twin.
The touch that I particularly liked was the spin they put on Peter Vincent. Of course they couldn't make him a cheesy late nite tv horror show host like Roddy McDowall was in the 1985 version. Those type of shows don't exist on television anymore. Instead he was a Cris Angel type performance artist. It made perfect sense since they also changed the venue of the story to Las Vegas. It allowed them to make him a little kitschy so there was another way to infuse just a bit of humor into the movie.
As far as remakes go, this "Fright Night" was pretty well done. They didn't abuse the "R" rating yet still made sure that it was rightfully earned. I would venture to say I was even impressed. It will never take the place of the original, but they did an excellent job in their re-imagining of sorts. Although I had some serious doubts going in they ended up making a believer out of me.
My rating: A -