Directed by Craig Gillespie
Starring Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, David Tenant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Fright Night is one of those films from the 80’s that doesn’t hold up, but kind of does. The music, the wardrobe, and some of the pop culture influences don’t hold up but the campy drive-in horror and humor still works. This is a cult classic film that’s still just as entertaining to watch now as it was back in the 80’s. So why remake it? The easy answer is money?
So this movie follows the same basic formula as the original: a kid discovers a vampire lives next door and decides to deal with it. There are differences though; when things got tough in the original film the kid sought the help of a night time horror movie host but in the new version he seeks out the help of a Chris Angel style illusionist with a thing for the “real” occult. Collin Farrell plays the creepy fanged neighbor and he seemed to be having a great time chewing the scenery overtly and subtly throughout the film. Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays, well the character he always plays starting back with Super Bad and as always he steals scenes left and right. The real surprise is David Tenant. He plays the illusionist with a dark past and a really hateful girlfriend who is reluctantly drug into the fight against the vampire. He’s completely hilarious throughout the film and real joy to watch.
Fright Night, like the original is thin on plot but what’s surprising is that this new version actually streamlines the plot of the original. It streamlines it so much that there’s very little “why” given to Collin Farrell’s character’s actions. It’s a minor complaint though for a film that so perfectly melds campy humor and horror like few modern movies do. The good and bad about this film is that it feels like a film of the 80’s, that’s a remake of an 80’s film. So, as far as the story this new version gives us absolutely nothing new. What it does offer up is pure unadulterated fun.
At the screening no one, not even the people running the screening, knew that he film was to be screened in 3-D. So it had to be stopped a minute in and reset while theater employees retrieved glasses for everyone in the audience. Grumbles about another 3-D film faded away extremely quickly as the film settled in because the 3-D was the campy sort of waggle vision that was used in old school horror films and it actually added to the atmosphere of the film in all the right ways. The waggling weapons, splashy blood, and even 3-D ass shot all mixed so perfectly with retro special FX or cheaper special FX if you will, to bring us a fun 80’s campy horror experience. Fright Night is a film that must be seen in 3-D. That statement I don’t take lightly, but there it is.
It’s far from a perfect film but it hits all the beats it wants to hit and it does so with so much zeal that you get wrapped up in it. The cast is great with alums from 28 Days Later, Kick Ass, and Doctor Who all bringing some genre experience to the film. The plot is thin and predictable but so damn much fun that you won’t care at all.