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Fright Night Movie Review - -

Fright Night
Reviewed by Sophie Whin on August 31st, 2011
presents a film directed by Craig Gillespie
Screenplay by Marti Noxon
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots and David Tennant
Running Time: 106 minutes
Rating: MA15+
Released: September 15th, 2011




The remake of Tom Holland’s cult hit Fright Night, directed by Craig Gillespie, is a surprisingly fun-filled and intelligent addition to the horror/comedy genre.  In our present day, where remakes tend to be taken too seriously and lack any originality, Gillespie has found a balance that pays homage to the original but displays contextual innovations that make it highly successful in its accessibility to contemporary audiences. Fright Night opens with a nail-biting sequence featuring a large amount of blood, several dead bodies and a mysterious menace chasing an unknown teen through a shadow drenched house. Following the boy’s demise, we cut suddenly to isolated Las Vegas suburbia where we’re introduced to Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin), an ex-nerd who has left his old friends to the wayside in favour of the ‘cool kids’ and a super hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots). After a bizarre encounter with his geeky former chum Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who attributes the disappearances of several classmates to the arrival of Charlie’s new neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell), Charlie begins to suspect that Jerry is a vampire. After stalking his charismatic neighbour unsuccessfully and finally being exposed to his monstrous self, Charlie concedes that he is out of his depth and is forced to seek assistance. He enlists the help of illusionist and vampire enthusiast Peter Vincent (David Tennant) in the hope that he might have the information on how to vanquish Jerry and thereby save both his mum (Toni Collette) and girlfriend from the vampire’s insatiable appetite.

Although we live in an age where if you throw a stone into a crowd you will unmistakably injure a teenage girl crying out for Edward Cullen to save her, Gillespie’s Fright Night veers towards a more traditional representation of vampires. Farrell’s Jerry is dangerous as he is seductive, with dark good-looks to contrast his retractable talons and a ‘game face’ not unlike Joss Whedon’s vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We are meant to fear vampires not fall in love with them, with Ed addressing this parallel belief by describing Jerry as not ‘brooding or lovesick, but the fucking shark from Jaws’. You can tell that Farrell enjoyed bringing this character to life and it is refreshing to see a new rendering of our established views concerning the horror of the supernatural. Anton Yelchin is strong as the unlikely hero and Imogen Poots provides the expected eye candy and heaving breasts. However, it is David Tennant that essentially steals the show. A mix between Russell Brand and Chris Angel, Tennant’s character has a bottle of Midori permanently on standby and seems to drunkenly fumble his way throughout the piece and still find time to help save the day. His comedic timing is impeccable, if a little over the top. He offers a reprieve from the fast-paced action that bombards us following Charlie’s discovering of his neighbours nightly activities.

To say the film has flaws would be unfair. What we expect is exactly what we get, with a cliché villain, gratuitous blood flow and terrible special effects.  This is a perfect example of the B grade horror films of the 1980s, with a bit more polish and a cast who can actually act. Perhaps the only set back for Fright Night is its presentation in 3D. It was unnecessary and no new improvements were made complementing the shock value of the various staked vampires bursting into flames. It seems that directors are increasingly incorporating this technology in the hope of proposing new cinematic experiences, but in this case it failed enormously. Despite this unsuccessful attempt at 3D, Craig Gillespie has certainly demonstrated his grasp on this genre. It will be interesting to see his take on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which follows the same combination of comedy and horror that has made this film so enjoyable to watch. It should also be noted that Fright Night has reaffirmed one’s belief in stashing a stake in your bag and sleeping with a crossbow under your pillow. After all, you never know whose going to move in next-door. 


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