Fright Night, 2011.
Directed by Craig Gillespie.
Starring Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Toni Collette, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Imogen Poots and Dave Franco.
A high school student comes to suspect that his next-door neighbor is a vampire.
Fright Night follows Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin), a down-to-earth high schooler who’s just trying to fit in with the cool crowd. He’s got a pretty girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots), and he’s got two douchebag friends – Reid Ewing and James Franco’s younger brother Dave. One day his old best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) comes to him with something he’s very serious about. Ed believes that Charley’s new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) is in fact a vampire. Charley obviously doesn’t believe Ed at first, but as the movie progresses he starts to take notice of some of Jerry’s actions. For instance, vampires aren’t allowed into anyone’s house without an invitation and we get a scene where Charley gets some beer from his fridge for Jerry but he won’t cross the threshold into the house. A scream from Jerry’s house causes Charley to become paranoid that his neighbor really could be a vampire. Once he finds out what Jerry truly is he goes to Vegas, hoping a Criss Angel-like magician named Peter Vincent (David Tennant) will help him stop Jerry from taking over his neighborhood.
Having seen the original after seeing this one, I have to give the remake a few more points for being completely different. Most remakes tend to be exact copies of the original, just updated a little for the new generation. Here they manage to keep the same overall plot, as well as character names, but the film is essentially different in almost every way and that’s a good thing. The movie doesn’t take long to get going and once it does it never lets up. It has a kind of Disturbia or Rear Window vibe to it in the same way that we watched the main character in those movies try to figure out if his neighbor was a killer or not. On so many levels this film really works and shows that not every remake can be a complete disaster.
For one the acting in this is surprisingly great. Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell run the show in this and give some great performances, Farrell especially. David Tennant makes for a pretty amusing vampire hunter, while Christopher Mintz-Plasse does well in his limited screen time. Also giving some good performances are the females in the movie. Both Imogen Poots and Toni Collette play great girlfriend and mom figures in the movie.
The effects here really work as well. Toward the end, some of the CGI gets to be a little much but everything up until then looks great. Story-wise the movie really works too because it sucks you right into it and the filmmakers give it a smooth and brisk pace. It’s hard to believe the guy who directed Mr. Woodcock directed this, and made it quite an entertaining movie. To me I enjoyed this more than the original Fright Night; not to say the original is bad – I just had a lot more fun with this one and liked what they chose to do story-wise more so than the original.