Does the 2011 “Fright Night” Have the Same Bite as the Original?
Let me start by saying that I absolutely hate remakes. Anyone that has followed me on here knows that and my reasoning is simple…nine out of ten times they suck! The fact that so many of the movies coming out today are sequels or remakes really shows the state of Hollywood! They have literally run out of ideas (and I am sure it is a lot cheaper to hire someone to re-write something that worked in the 80’s then to hire someone with an original thought in their head).
Just so you know, I am writing the first part of this blog BEFORE I go to see the FRIGHT NIGHT remake. I am a HUGE fan of the original 1985 film, starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys and of course, the incomparable Roddy McDowall. The 80’s were a great time for original horror films (and some amazing remakes like with THE BLOB, JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING and THE FLY) and I think most people agree that FRIGHT NIGHT was one of the best. All of the characters were likeable, even Sarandon’s Jerry Dandridge, the vampire next door. What Tom Holland did was create a film that people could relate too, especially if you were a teenager. How many times have teens tried to convince their parents of something only to be ignored or told that they were being silly? The teen characters are people you could see yourself hanging out with in highschool and I know I would be up late every night Peter Vincent’s Fright Night program was on! This is a film that will always be a classic, regardless of what people think of the 2011 remake.
Going into the remake I had very low expectations. The local reviews have been horrible and I had no idea what to expect. So how was it? It was without a doubt one of the best vampire films I have seen in a while! Even though some scenes were directly from the original, there was enough variety in this film to give it a fresh, new feel! It is also nice to see Tom Holland back writing the story with Marti Noxon (of Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame) writing the screenplay…two people very familiar with vampires!
One concern of mine was Colin Farrel in the role of Jerry Dandridge, especially since Chris Sarandon had done such an amazing job in the original. Farrel’s version is more of a sadistic killer than Sarandon’s, playing with his food over a few days before deciding whether to kill them or turn them. I also found Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s Evil Ed much more likeable and fun to watch than Stephen Geoffreys’ version. I found Geoffreys version to be a bit over the top to the point of being annoying…I never felt bad for him! Plasse’s Ed is much more sympathetic.
The parts of Amy and Charley are played by Imogen Poots and Anton Yelchin (better known as Chekov in the 2009 STAR TREK movie). They both are wonderful in these parts and you definitely find yourself rooting for them throughout. Peter Vincent, played by David Tennant, was the hardest character for me to accept. Initially he comes off like an ass but he does grow on you and ends up having the same charm that Roddy McDowall’s Peter Vincent did. All in all this film is highly recommended, with some great visual effects and fun 3-D (one of my favorite 3-D scenes features a vampire turning to burning ash with the ash floating right in front of your face). This film is also a lot bloodier than the original so be warned! If you are sick of everything TWILIGHT and are getting bored with TRUE BLOOD, then definitely give this film a shot!