“Fright Night” Remake – Dru’s Review
I'm not much for horror movies, so I should preface by saying I've never actually seen the original version of this movie so I can't make comparisons. What I can tell you is how this one scared the crap out of me without even realizing it myself. I'll explain after the jump.
Like I said, I don't go in much for horror movies, but give me a good vampire flick and I'm content to watch the magic unfold. *DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Twilight fan (as Christopher Mintz-Plasse's character also vehemently proclaims in this film); I have never read the books and will never see the movies as they are an embarrassment to the vampire mythology. I was on the vampire bandwagon long before they were perverted into abstinence-preaching, unattractive, teen-beat sparkle fairies. Long live Bram and Buffy! END DISCLAIMER*
Anyway, we move on. I was skeptical about seeing this movie only because it felt more like a scary, horror film than most of the vampire narratives that are popular in the film industry today. And it seems I was right. For the most part, the movie was paced a little too fast, but you definitely jump right in with both feet as we learn who the menacing, yet devastatingly handsome next door neighbor really is within the first half hour - Jerry, the handy neighborhood vampire. Taking into consideration that fact that the movie itself was a mere hour and 45 minutes, I can forgive how quickly "the plot" seemed to move along. Speaking of plot, I had trouble finding one beyond blood and gore. Jerry seemed to have too much fun licking blood off the palm of his hands or his chin, and he did it after EVERY suckfest, not just one. I guess that's the point of this movie though. Just a lot of scary moments that do an excellent job of having things pop out at you to scare the living bejeezus out of anyone watching. Trouble is I've become too jaded and can usually tell when something is about to happen, leaving me immune to any freak outs. Little did I know that my dreams after seeing this movie had other plans for me, but we'll get to that later.
As for what I like about this movie, I really appreciate the mythos surrounding vampires in this one. It's been FAR too long since we've had the stereotypical vamp who isn't reflected in mirrors, can be killed with the usual suspects (fire, sunlight, wooden stakes), can be repelled by the cross and holy water, etc. It was even a nice when we had a brief nod to the universal werewolf legends when Jerry pulls a silver bullet out of his shoulder and quips "silver bullets are for werewolves." I thought it was great! While I do enjoy twists on the classic stories like maybe vampires being impervious to the cross, or being able to walk in the day for a short period of time (it keeps it interesting), I feel like books and movies today go overboard with this for the most part. Anything vampire that comes out now is inundated with references that talk about how foolish the vampire myths we grew up with are, or that vampires created the "we don't reflect in mirrors" bit to throw suspicion off themselves when blending in with the human world indicating that "modern" vampires are nothing like what we got in the original stories. It was nice to get back to a bit of history in this one.
Another shining aspect of the remake is Doctor Who alum David Tennant as resident Las Vegas vampire expert Peter Vincent. His character brought a HUGE sense of comic relief and insight to the movie. He provided most, if not all, substance to this film as far as back-story goes. He filled in all the blanks about vampire mythology and added his own personal history with vampires prompting him to become the "Fright Night" TV star he was in the film. If nothing else, seeing the movie for his performance alone is completely worth it.
Three final things that made this movie enjoyable - Colin Farrell has vastly improved his ability to hide his Irish accent (which is actually a shame whenever he has to), and Buffy writer Marti Noxon (who also wrote the screenplay for this film) threw in a Buffy reference in a brief bit of dialogue spouted by the beloved Peter Vincent; he tells the main character that he (Peter) will in no way be joining the main character's "Scooby Gang." This reference, more than anything else, filled me with the utmost joy. The third delightfully surprising moment came when Lisa Loeb made an appearance as one of the mom's in the movie. Lisa Loeb! Remember her?! Cat-eye glasses and "Stay"?! Do I need to say more?! How about this? She's just plain terrific! End of sentence.
In conclusion, I will say that the Fright Night remake is pretty decent on the surface. I may have come out with a different opinion had I seen the original before going to see the remake, but I guess we'll never know now. As far as being scary, like I mentioned earlier, I'm usually pretty jaded when it comes to "jump out and scare you" movies, and I was pretty sedentary while watching this one. Cut to 3:30 in the morning and me waking up with my heart pounding in my chest after dreaming that Colin Farrell was after me (which would usually be a welcome event) once he had already made a meal of my mom and dad. Needless to say, the lights were turned on for the remainder of my non-restfull night of sleep.
Well done, Fright Night 2.0. Well done indeed.