FILM REVIEW: Fright Night

Senior Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) finally has it all—he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the hottest girl in high school. In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But trouble arrives when an intriguing stranger Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door.

He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right—and everyone, including Charlie’s mom (Toni Collette), doesn’t notice. After witnessing some very unusual activity, Charlie comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on his neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone that he’s telling the truth, Charlie has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself in this revamp of the comedy-horror classic.

Fright Night is directed by Craig Gillespie and stars Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell (Crazy Heart) Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and David Tennant (Doctor Who) Imogen Poots and Toni Collette. Fright Night is released in cinemas 2nd September 2011

If, like me, you were wondering: why remake a classic cheezy flick which had become the mainstay of the vampire mythos of the 80’s and 90’s, allow me to say one thing: it is far far better than any of us might expect.

The reasons are multiple.  Anton Yelchin as Charlie Brewster is perfectly cast.  A geeky, funny guy, coming to terms with his growing attraction to his girlfriend who is played by the very lovely and very cool Imogen Poots as Amy, and his new status as “the boy who is no longer invisible at school.”  He has a decent relationship with his mum, Jane.  The only friction really is that he’s now a bit embarrassed by his previous friendship with Ed (played excellently by Christopher Mintz-Plasse).  Of course, Ed has no shame in pressuring Charlie in joining him to figure out what the disappearances in their small part of Vegas means.  Ed is convinced it has something to do with vampires.  Charlie is not so sure, thinking that Ed has finally, totally and utterly lost it.

And yet, there is something very creepy about their new neighbour, Jerry.  And Charlie can’t shake off the fact that Jerry seems very interested in both Jane and Amy.  And did I mention that he was creepy?

Colin Farrell has the time of his life playing Jerry, the vampire.  I know.  Worst. Vampire. Name. Ever.  He does not play it camp or over the top.  Instead he plays it seriously and psychotically and superbly.  He freaked me out.  There is this one scene where he goes to Charlie’s house to ask for some beer as he’s got a ladyfriend coming over…and Charlie goes back into the kitchen and Jerry just stands by the door, unable to walk across the threshold.  The scene is laced with menace and there is this tremendous undercurrent as Charlie realises that Ed might be right about Jerry after all.  Superb.

As things spiral out of control, and Charlie decides to go and see Vincent Price (overplayed wonderfully by David Tennant), the self-styled vampire hunter we root for him, praying that someone will believe him.  Price’s character is such fun, so tongue in cheek, and Tennant really looks like he’s having a fantastic time in the role, that although things turn ugly, you almost can’t take it seriously.

 

The movie, in a word, is a success.  It pays homage to the first Fright Night with a clever cameo and moments of great comedy but it also cuts to the core of the thing and makes vampires scary again.   Well, Jerry is fantastically scary.  And Colin Farrell plays the role without his habitual eyebrow wiggling, which can only help any role he’s in.

As a big fan of the first one, I think a lot of old fans will become fans of the new one.  It will surprise you and you’ll come out smiling.  And still think that Jerry is the worst vampire name ever.  No, come to think of it…Bill is the worst vampire name ever.

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One comment

  1. i totally want to see this! just looks like a fun summer flick.

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