When you’re in the movie business it does not matter how successful you’re film is, there must always be things that you can see in a movie after it’s made and improve upon them. For Tom Holland he had the opportunity to work magic twice in 1985 he worked solely as writer and director of Fright Night, in 2010 he got the chance to go back and breathe new life into his cult classic, with the aid of screenwriter Marti Noxon. Many dreaded the remake of Fright Night, a movie that is no better, or no worse than the original, and by choosing not to remain faithful to the origins, it really is a different film altogether.
Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) has just moved up a level at school, not in grades, but in status. A few months ago he was a nerd, but now he has the hot girlfriend, and all the coolest kids around love him. For others though, like Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who are left behind, things are not so cool. Worse still Ed has uncovered a sinister secret about Charley’s new neighbour that means he could really use the help of an old friend. Charley’s reactions are too late, he dismissed Ed telling him that new neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire, and now Ed has gone, it takes this disappearance to make Charley pay attention, and when he realises the truth there is nowhere for him to turn, or is there?
Fright Night is so far one of the highest points of the Frightfest 2011 film festival, a rollercoaster ride of 100 odd minutes, that never wanes, never falters, and keeps you amused through its entirety. A Walt Disney movie, with swearing and violence, but good old-fashioned traditional aspects that reach right back into Disney’s origins.
Yelchin is a good choice of leading man, and perfect for a movie where a transformation needs to be clearly seen. But it’s not Yelchin that steals the show, that falls very much at the feet of David Tennant, who you could argue in turn is impersonating Russell Brand. It’s sad but you really do not quite see enough of Tennant as Peter Vincent, much the same as you never quite saw enough of Roddy McDowell in the original. And it’s the same endearing feel you have for both incarnations of Peter Vincent that makes both movies winners.
Before you think Fright Night is getting off with a full 10 out of 10, there is one real issue, and that’s the 3D. The 3D is a really bad aspect of the movie, simply because it’s a real waste of money, all the effect does is give dimension to the film, nothing really comes at you, and to sit through a movie with uncomfortable glasses on your face, you kind of what more than dimension to a film, you want as you got with earlier festival hit Fright Night 5 things flying in your face.
While not staying faithful to the original, there are certain aspects that are included simply for the sake of homage, the return of the line “You’re sooo coool Brewster” made a much welcome comeback, as did the return of Chris Sarandon the original Jerry in a brief cameo.
Many had low expectations of Farrell, who still gets a bit of a bum rap in movies, but remember this is the actor that made In Bruge so fantastic, and here he does an equally good job of pleasing the audience. A great mix of evil and humour to add to this phenomenal cocktail of greatness.
If you’re a fan of the original, and putting it off don’t! This is a very different version of the movie, and one that even the most die-hard Fright Night fans will not deny, is a great movie.