Fright Night (2011)

When “they” (whoever “they” are) announced the remake of the 1985 film Fright Night, I was a little leery. You see, overall, I have not been a fan of remakes. Sure, there are a few cases where it’s successfully done, but nine times out of ten, you wind up with your Godzilla‘s (1998), your Nutty Professor‘s (1996), and your Wicker Man‘s (2006 –should that be Wicker Men?). And don’t even get me started on TV series that are “rebooted” for the big screen (I’m talking to you, Dukes of Hazzard). I guess it’s just hard for me to get excited about a remake.



But for some reason, after watching the trailer for the new Fright Night, I was actually interested in the remade version. Maybe it was the cast, or maybe I am a sucker for tales of the supernatural. Heck, maybe I am just a mindless consumer who will buy anything they see a commercial for (which explains the abundance of Flowbees, Chia Pets, and Snuggies in my house). Whatever the case was, I added Fright Night to the “save” section of my queue and even briefly flirted with the idea of seeing it in theaters.


Fright Night, the remake, has the same basic premise as its 1985 predecessor. A vampire named Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves next door to Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) and his mom (Toni Collette). Mysterious disappearances happen around town and Charley’s classmate, Evil Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) suspects the dashing Jerry is behind them. Of course, Charley doesn’t believe Evil Ed– I mean, his name is Evil Ed, can you blame him? However, once Ed vanishes, Charley is on the case. He enlists the help of Vegas magician and occult expert, Peter Vincent (David Tennant) to conquer the bloodsucker and save the suburbs.


On the surface, the two Fright Nights seem more or less like the same film. However, where the 1985 version is more of a horror-comedy, the latest rendition would be classified as a straight-up horror film. As I am writing this review, it is difficult not to compare the two movies. Is that fair? I mean, it is a remake, so it’s natural to use comparison as a means of evaluation. However, Fright Night’s (2011) story departs enough from the original, that it may be unfair to hold it up to Fright Night (1985).


As a vampire movie, Fright Night (2011) is decent. It doesn’t rewrite the genre or do anything groundbreaking, but it was acceptable. I know, what a rave review! Perhaps what I liked the most about this film was its location. A Las Vegas suburb seems like an ideal location for a vampire hunting ground—people work all hours of the day, it’s not uncommon for houses to have their windows blacked out to allow the occupants to sleep while the sun is up, and there is a high transient population. It was also a good way to introduce the character of Peter Vincent and make him accessible to the other characters—where else would you find an occult-obsessed magician at the tip of your fingers?


I was, however, disappointed in the visual effects in Fright Night (2011). Sure, some of the effects looked acceptable, but most of them were distracting. Even more disappointing than the actual effects was the design of the vampires. They looked weird—almost to the point of being goofy—not scary. When the vampires revealed their “true selves” it reminded me of a fun house mirror or a silly camera effect, with large mouths and eyes.


Overall, I found Fright Night to be a very average movie. While I tried my best not to compare the two Fright Nights in my review, while I was watching the remake I kept thinking about how much more I enjoyed the first one. The 1985 Fright Night was cheesy and fun. Sure, I admit that could just be because it’s from the 80s and a lot of things from that decade seem kitschy now; but I did like the original Fright Night better than the remake. I suppose fans of vampire movies may enjoy the 2011 version—and it wasn’t a terrible movie—but I think I will stick with the original.


Have a wonderful Wednesday!


Score: C-

Netflix Queue: 493

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