Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fright Night (2011)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Fright Night (2011) - 4 out of 5

There are very, VERY few vampire films I enjoy.  I'm not a fan of vampires--plain and simple--and the films about them, pun very much not intended, suck.  I don't enjoy the overly sensual aspects of vampirism that women are so crazy about.  Vampires, albeit being a supernatural being of the night, always came off as...well...pussies.  There was no visceral fear that came from them because they all looked too busy matching drapes in their boudoir and making sure their shirts are at their fluffiest.  Then Twilight came along and somehow made an already wussy creature become even more limp-wristed as they now sparkled in the sun.  I can count, on one hand, how many movies that involve vampires I will willingly watch--and three of them have Blade involved in them.  One of the others is the 80s classic; Fright Night.

No one ever looks up in horror films.

McLovin is in this?!?  If anyone can stop a's probably not McLovin.
While I don't find the original to be a true masterpiece, the film is definitely entertaining.  The story is fun and it's one of those rare comedy/horror films that perfectly blends the laughs and the spooks.  The only real downside the movie has is the limitations it had on special effects and the fact it came from the 80s--so synthesizer music haunts you at every turn and the fashions are embarrassing to look at even now.  But, when I was a kid and first saw it, these issues weren't a problem because I was in the midst of that era--besides, Roddy McDowall is in it and if you don't think Roddy is awesome then you're just a person I can't hang out with.  Adding to the fact that I'm not a fan of vampires, I'm also not the biggest fan of remakes.  While I will give a remake a chance, the usual outcome of the chance I give them is either A) the remake is okay and gives some mild entertainment or B) the remake sucks to the point it nearly collapses the credibility of the original.  So, when I first heard they were remaking one of the few vampire movies I enjoy, I was enraged...until I saw the trailer.

After watching that, I was like, "Hey, that looks pretty damn good."  And it didn't hurt that my favorite Doctor, David Tennant, was going to be playing Peter Vincent and filling the shoes of Mr. Roddy McDowall.  After sitting down and giving this remake of a classic a shot, I was very surprised to find out how good it was.  The story keeps most of the themes of the original with a few modern alterations thrown in.  A vampire moves into a Las Vegas suburb and people start disappearing.  Once the neighbor boy, Charley, catches on, our vampire (Jerry played by Colin Ferrell) makes him his target for his next meal.  In the original, the teenage boy seeks the help of the actor Peter Vincent, a man who makes the claim of being a vampire hunter.  In this remake, Peter Vincent is more of a mockery of Criss Angel and does a supernatural-themed magic show on the strip.  What's Charley to do?  The man he thought was an expert on killing these things is a drunk coward and possibly a fraud.  Can he take Jerry by himself?

Tennant being in this was enough for me to watch this...luckily the movie turned out to be awesome!

One thing I really enjoyed about this one over the original is how dark they were able to make the film.  And I don't mean dark as in the tone of the film but rather how much light is actually on screen at all times.  I love the original but because it was made in the 80s, you're almost drowned in bright colors that stained the fashion of the times.  This re-do takes the film to the night and, in the process of doing so, is able to makes some really great, horror-themed jokes.  However, I still believe the original is the funnier of the two.  

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you James Franco's younger and far less talented brother.

Another aspect that made this remake stand out is the fact they got a fantastic cast.  I'm a big fan of Doctor Who and David Tennant became my favorite Doctor while he was at the helm of the TARDIS and seeing him as a newly envisioned Peter Vincent was spectacular--although, seeing him as the Good Doctor, I was slightly thrown back by the very colorful language his character spurts out.  Foul language and all, Tennant was so impressive and entertaining as Vincent that I fully support the idea of a film that is all about him (rumors are circulating about a sequel to this one or possibly a Peter Vincent only film.)

Chris Sarandon, the original Jerry, makes a cameo.  A nice treat to the fans of the 1985 classic.

Unlike most actors who play teenagers, Yelchin actually
looks like a teenager.
Anton Yelchin plays Charley, the unfortunate kid who stumbles upon the secret of his neighbor.  Until now, the only films I saw him in were Star Trek, Terminator:  Salvation and Alpha Dog.  I hated all those films and although I tried to be impartial, I ended up disliking Yelchin for merely being in those movies.  However, after watching his performance in this one, I may have to reconsider his performances in the past films.  Was he this good in the Terminator movie that actually made the 3rd one no longer the worst in the series?  But even more impressive than that is Colin Ferrell's performance as the vampire Jerry.  Lately, Ferrell has been knocking it out of the park in the movies he's been in.  Films like The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Horrible Bosses, it's like Ferrell has received a breath of fresh air into his career.  His performance as Jerry can easily make one forget he was fighting Ben Affleck in Daredevil.

Ferrell made what few men can do possible:  Make vampires tough and foreboding.
Remakes have never been my cup of tea and seeing one that can hold up to the original--both honor it and bring its own traits to the endeavor--is extremely rare.  It's about as rare as me finding a vampire film that doesn't bore or annoy me.  In this case, Fright Night was able to accomplish both--be a great remake and be added to my very short list of vampire films that I enjoy.

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