Rating: 4 stars out of 5
It’s kind of a no-brainer that Fright Night, a 3D do-over of a 1985 menace-and-mirth vampire schlock fest takes several digs at Twilight. It’s hard not to understand why: In recent years, vampires have been transmogrified from being bad-assed rulers of the supernatural underworld to brooding and emo pale-faced pretty boys with skin that bedazzles in the sun (roll eyes).
Fright Night sinks its pointy teeth into those effete vampire flicks and spits them out like a piece of used gum with its really cool, scary, and entertaining take on these creatures of the night.
First things first, does anyone remember the original Fright Night? That 1985 scary movie, starring Chris Sarandon that plays a vampire and Roddy McDowall as a showbiz guy who does a late night horror TV show.
Fright Night borrows some basic ideas from the original and tries to find its own voice. Yes, it’s not as scary as the original but if you’re unfamiliar with the source material, it’s actually a very entertaining watch. Gillespie and scriptwriter Marti Nixon, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum, rejigs the familiar characters, making them contemporary enough to make a nasty vamp loose in Las Vegas seem absolutely believable.
Lead actor Anton Yelchin’s Charley Brewster is geekier than the original and much more earnest. He straddles the line between dweeb and cool with ease and in this remake, Yelchin’s Charley also plays the hero part confidently. Superbad’s McLovin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays Christopher Mintz-Plasse or rather Charley’s geeky BFF Ed who turns into McFreaky, we mean Evil Ed. Although Mintz-Plasse role do add some levity to the movie, his turn as Ed pales in comparison next to Stephen Geoffreys’ from the original.
Another standout character other than Yelchin’s Charley is the Criss Angel-type illusionist Peter Vincent (played by Doctor Who’s David Tennant). The producers are absolutely spot on in turning the rather scholarly vampire hunter from the original into a modern Vegas showman. Although he looks more like Russell Brand, we have to admit that Tennant’ showy Vincent is a fun recasting from the original.
The 3D in Fright Night is frightfully tacky and that’s just the kind of blood–spatter-fest we’ve been waiting for. Who really cares about subtle three-dimensional CGI when you can have right-in-your-face blood and guts?
The film unfortunately wobbles at the end during the epic ending when stakes, blood and teeth gets shoved into your face and the jokes seems to get lost in all the chaos. Although horror-comedies are some nasty creatures to stake (it has to make you scream and laugh at the same time), Fright Night comes close with its fresh take and cool script.
Fright Night makes being a vampire cool again and makes watching vampire movies fun again. Edward and gang definitely need to take some lessons from Jerry.