By Dave Campbell | August 19, 2011
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writer: Marti Noxon (screenplay), Tom Holland (story Fright Night 1985)
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Lisa Loeb, Dave Franco, Sandra Vergara
Newly un-geeked high school senior Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is feeling pretty good these days. He’s now dating the hottest girl (Imogen Poots) in school and has left his nerdy ex-best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) behind him…or so he thought. Ed starts to notice that people in their suburban Las Vegas neighborhood are disappearing and suspects that Charley’s new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a creature of the night just as Charley and his mom (Toni Collette) finally meet him.
After some strong convincing from Ed (including the threat of releasing a video of them in full on cosplay battle action), Charley gets onboard with the suspicion and they sneak into Jerry’s house to confirm their hunch. After finding proof and and with Ed now missing, Charley seeks out the aide of Los Vegas magician/vampire expert Peter Vincent (David Tennant) to help put an end to ol Jerry.
“That is a terrible vampire name. Jerry?”
Thanks to the vibe of Buffy veteran Marti Noxon, Fright Night retains some elements of the original with a fresh current storyline that is also both horror and comedy. The direction is generally nice as well with cinematography that’s pitched in the right mood. Shining moments aside, the film does have some noticeable gaps in the plot which is reflective in pacing of the narrative.
The Dark-Irish himself Colin Farrell, does a fairly splendid job of laying out the sleazy creepiness while Anton Yelchin (Star Trek 2009) convincingly yields a solid unlikely teenage hero. The support was also well placed. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Super Bad, Kick-Ass) will probably have a hard time shaking the nerd roles, but at least he knows what works for him. The damn kid is just hilariously clever and has the natural ability of comedic timing. Toni Collette (R.I.P. United States of Tara) is enjoyable as always even when doing a standard modern mom character, and David Tennant was the unexpected bonus as he steps out of his Doctor Who shoes to play an amusing cross between Criss Angel and Russell Brand.
Like the original, Fright Night succeeds in keeping the audience both anxious and humored. As a child of the 70’s/80’s, I’m a big fan of practical effects so the CG got a little too heavy handed especially in the third act. Though Fright Night didn’t really need the remake treatment, the stylishly fun composition and strong performances resulted in some bloody good pleasure.