Directed by: Craig Gillespie
: Marti Noxon, Tom Holland
Starring by: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant
Genres: Comedy, Horror
A remake of the 1985 original, teenager Charley Brewster (Yelchin) guesses that his new neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Farrell) is a vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths. When no one he knows believes him, he enlists Peter Vincent (Tennant), a self proclaimed vampire killer and Las Vegas magician, to help him take down Jerry.
Reviewed byAdam GrahamVote: B/10
Farrell is all darting eyes, facial ticks and macho confidence. He never goes over the top, he's not a showy actor, but he's clearly relishing his role and eating it up with abandon. He makes this a Night to remember.
Reviewed byKeith StaskiewiczVote: B/10
Colin Farrell's performance as Jerry is the pulsing, stakeable heart of the movie.
Reviewed byJoe MarinoVote: 9/10
Remaining in the same vein as many recent horror outings, "Fright Night" is more of an eerie action comedy than a straight-out scare fest. Good. That's my favorite type, especially considering scares in and of themselves hardly garner a pull anymore. Also, with a title like "Fright Night," we have an understanding with the filmmakers that we're getting one of those throwback horror flicks. You know, the ones that gave the horror genre that fun movie-going reputation it had in the 80′s before tasteless gore and tiresome predictability defiled the genre? This film succeeds on that promise, quickly turning itself into the quintessential "fun" horror flick perfect for Friday night.
Styled after Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" (which inspired its own modern retelling, "Disturbia") with a suave vampire living next-door instead of a mysterious stranger, this plot is very similar to its original. Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin; "Star Trek") is a ex-nerd who has joined 'the cool crowd,' dropping his oldest friend "Evil" Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse; "Kick-Ass") for a hot cheerleader girlfriend (Imogen Poots; "28 Weeks Later"). Things are looking oh-so-grand for the little flake (I mean, come on, any guy who hurtfully tells his friend "the day my life got better was the day I stopped hanging with you" is well a douche), he gets a new next-door neighbor that his mom (Toni Collette; "The Sixth Sense") takes a liking to: Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell; "Horrible Bosses"). Now Jerry seems like a cool guy, but as we all know, you don't cast Colin Farrell to be your average next-door neighbor. Ed's attempts to convince Charley that Jerry is actually a vampire fail, but when Ed himself goes missing and Jerry shows proof of what he is, Charley goes to the only person who might have the answer: Peter Vincent (David Tennant; "Doctor Who"), the Las Vegas magician who boasts of supernatural knowledge on how to kill vampires.
The choice to modernize the original 1985 "Fright Night" doesn't like that bright an idea considering the current rule that all horror remakes suck, but somehow this became a unique effort due to diligent actors, a reliable director, and successful laugh and scare gags. It is, without exaggeration, the first great entry in the long line of atrocious horror remakes. It takes what we liked about the original and comes up some clever changes that update the story 26 years to the present.
From an ingenious kill method at the end to wickedly suspenseful chase scenes, "Fright Night" boasts some surprisingly memorable scenes – some of which are incredibly suspenseful considering we think we should know what to expect from a vampire thriller. The opening is a startling 3D shot through dark thunderclouds that ends in an impeccably-executed family massacre. With Craig Gillespie's (the outstanding director of "Lars and the Real Girl") imaginative direction and Ramin Djawadi's (scorer of "Iron Man" and "Mr. Brooks") jarringly effective and wholly memorable musical score, the film hits all the beats it strives for with manic zeal.
The all-star cast deliver a gratifying romp of suspense and chuckles, but the movie belongs to its villain and its anti-hero, Colin Farrell and David Tennant. The rest give solid performances (especially Mintz-Plasse), but they pale compared to the main act.
Colin Farrell, when given the opportunity, revels in the grittiness of villainy whenever he can. For Jerry Dandrige, Farrell is at an all-time evil high and unchains his dark side. Part Hannibal Lector in his charming menace and part Buffalo Bill in his vicious brutality, Farrell carves himself a sweetly unpredictable part filled with great moments (from his menacing way of asking for a six-pack of beer to his ultimate way of overstepping house invitation rules to a great moment where his decision to do absolutely nothing produces far worse results).
The fascinating part about Jerry is he isn't like regular vampires. He seems more inspired by the worst of modern serial killers than mythical killing machines, with his secret torture rooms and closet full of dozens of uniforms signifying authority (from firemen to the post office to the police). He's modern without being "Twilight." He's a ominous hulking mass. Those characteristics mixed together with his bizarre personality create a rather unique Hollywood vampire. Due to this, I wish the "transformation" to full-on vampire face was never included, as it is poor CGI and takes away from Farrell's menace.
David Tennant, who I will admit I adore as the 10th Doctor Who, is a cinematic gem. His acting style has always been that of a Shakespearean extremist, and I can't think of a better role that has such obvious wicked glee in allowing him to let loose. There is something strangely mesmerizing in Tennant's scenes as the vulgar magician-turned-vampire-killer, especially in his first big scene where his vehemence and wide-eyed enthusiasm is outstandingly exaggerated. Also, seeing him acting with a giant shotgun is way more fun than I expected it to be. He's about as entertaining – if not more so – than the performance given by Roddy McDowall.
In the end, what really matters about this movie? Is the movie suspenseful and thrilling? Yes, especially when Jerry really is allowed to let loose his menacing charm and kill with the same love of general violence of a "Reservoir Dogs" character. Is the movie funny when it tries to be? Absolutely. The pop culture references – especially in a crack on "Twilight" and comparing Jerry to the shark from "Jaws" – work particularly well. This is a huge amount of fun. So if you walk into this expecting the right kind of movie, "Fright Night" is that perfect Friday night scare.