Fright Night Blu-ray 3D | Blu-ray | DVD
DIRECTED BY: Craig Gillespie
WRITTEN BY: Marti Noxon
STARRING: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Toni Collette
RELEASE DATE: December 13, 2011
By now we should all be familiar with the drill: whether we like it or hate it, Hollywood will and is remaking everything they can get their hands on, and that’s because people pay lots and lots of money to see them. So, knowing that, we might as well at least remain open to the possibility that every now and again a remake will be done properly (the Coen’s True Grit, for example) and in-turn, be worth our time and our money.
A good place to find remakeable properties appears to be the ’80s horror genre. Though the horror movies of that time are beloved by many, they’re not always exactly “good” and often ooze hints of the decade in which they were made, and so they do not age very well at all. With a little love and care and today’s technologies, however, a cheesy ’80s horror flick can be turned into quite the little terror. So when it comes to a remake of ohhh, say…Fright Night, for example, is said love and care and technology put to good use, or does another bite the dust?
The movie stars Anton Yelchin in the lead role of Charley Brewster, a normal teenage boy who’s living the good life. He once was amongst the geeks of his school, but now has found a way to rise up Gladiator-style, obtain the hand of a beautiful lass (Imogen Poots), and stand tall as a cool kid…leaving his not-so-cool friends behind, naturally. That means that yes, our hero can be something of an ass.
One day one of his former nerdy friends, Ed (of the Evil variety), played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, comes to Charley for help. Another childhood friend of theirs is missing, and he wants to check it out and make sure nothing is wrong. Their friend ends up nowhere to be found and Ed tells Charley that his new next door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell), is a vampire.
Obviously at first he thinks it’s absolutely ridiculous, but eventually he too starts seeing the signs. When it’s fully confirmed Charley seeks out the help of an expert, the Las Vegas magician known as Peter Vincent (David Tennant) to help him destroy the beast, but he’s not quite as receptive as hoped and ol’ Jerry might just be too much to handle.
The best thing about this Fright Night remake is the level of comedy they added. The original had its moments, but the remake takes it to another level, almost to the point of being a very dark comedy instead of a horror. A lot of this comes from Doctor Who vet David Tennant doing his best Russell Brand impersonation, but the other characters chip in here and there as well. Having not seen anything Doctor Who-related this was my first Tennant experience and I must say, I am a fan.
The story is relatively the same as the original with a hip new setting (a fitting sort of imprisoned-in-your-own-friendly-neighborhood town in the middle of the desert near Vegas), but the remake feels like it moves much faster. There’s very little build up—filmmaker Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Marti Noxon come right at you from the start and things are happening way before you’re ready for them. This could be considered a good thing for some, not so good for others.
Speaking of not so good, there was a little too much CGI for my liking. Though this was the 3D Blu-ray I was unable to watch the 3D version, which you get the feeling would have played nicer with the heavy CGI moments. Me personally, while I do think CGI can work in small doses, I still want to see as much makeup and prosthetic work shining through on the screen as possible. This is pretty much my only complaint, though I must warn everyone who’s never seen either Fright Night to avert your eyes during the main menu—it shows WAY too much and could act the spoiler. Thankfully I didn’t notice this until after I had watched it.
Sticking with the 3D I think it was handled very well in Fright Night from a non-3D viewer’s perspective. So many 3D movies you watch in 2D these days are littered with these blatantly obvious tri-dimensional moments, and unless the title of your movie is A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, a little more subtlety is much desired. This particular 3D movie had a few obvious gag moments to throw at you, but it wasn’t overwhelming and it wasn’t distracting and that’s all I can really ask for.
Just like the original, Fright Night isn’t a great movie, but, also just like its original, it is still a hell of a lot of fun. It’s a solid popcorn horror flick to watch with friends on a weekend in; it accomplishes what it sets out to do, and will offer up a few scares and a few laughs and an entertaining overall experience.
There’s a good little collection of bonus content to check out on the Blu-ray disc, starting with a short behind the scenes look at Peter Vincent and his epic Vegas stage show.
There’s a making of feature called “How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie” that’s entertaining. All it really did was inform/remind me that half the cast speaks with a different accent than they do in the movie (completely forgot Toni Collette was Australian), but still fun to watch!
Next up is a “homemade” video of Yelchin and Mintz-Plasse as kids with their friend doing geeky things before Yelchin “grew up.” You see this video briefly in the movie, but get to watch the whole amusing thing in the special features.
Wrapping things up is a few deleted/extended scenes that were rightfully edited out, a hilarious blooper reel, and a Kid Cudi music video.