Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) gets suspicious of his new neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) after members of his school go missing and his best friend Ed, who is convinced he’s a vampire, gets brutally murdered. Even with him taking precautions and with concerns from his mother Jane (Toni Collette) and girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots), it does not stop Jerry from targeting them as his next meal eventually resorting to Charley attempting to enlist the help of self proclaimed vampire expert and Las Vegas Showman Peter Vincent.
It is easy to demand complex, high brow horror these days considering all the sequels, prequels and reimaginings floating around at the moment but with all those things going on, it is also hard to see where the market is for something, well, simple. Something you can go and take your friends to and enjoy yourselves without worrying about santity and continuity and all the things that creep out from it. Enter Fright Night, both a remake and a fun little flick in its own right.
Having never seen the 1985 original, I had no idea what to expect from the movie and even with Tennant hyping it up during press interviews at Empire Big Screen, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to get a gore fest or some kind of forced anti-Twilight movie people like to do.
The story goes along quicker than you’d expect you would. Even though it is a two hour movie, it kind of didn’t feel that way by the time we reach the point where Jerry decides that he prefers fast food rather than a sit down meal. It also all kind of made sense with how it was putting where Jerry is as a vampire to how it would work in a modern setting and I liked that. It was a bit more thought out and felt organic rather than sliding it in and making it feel like it had to be there in a certain way. The script, too, doesn’t muddle you down in confusion and goes somewhere with both bits of quirky and funny and bits of ‘Oh jeez, things are looking bad’. In other words, it feels like a movie from the 80s made into a movie for modern audiences and I say that in the best way possible.
Acting wise, noone really stands out but everyone seems like they’re going with the story and the horror that comes from it. I was a particular fan of Colin Farrell’s Jerry which, despite the slips of the ol’ Irish accent, felt really sinister in how he was going about his business. I’m also probably the only one happy Christopher Mintz-Plasse is still getting work but feck it, he’s fun to me. David Tennant, in his first big American movie role is…well, David Tennant. His character is fun and he says his lines well, even getting some of the funnier ones. It’s a good place to start for him and, well, anything that’ll get him away from doing another St Trinians is a great opening point. Anton Yelchin continues to build a good CV from himself and, along with Imogen Poots, do a good job in the lead roles and make for a fun couple with some of the twists being good to watch for their development. Nothing deep or anything, just nice for a film like this.
This movie you can also see in 3D and, you know what, they actually put the work into justifying 3D for it. Strange, I know, but true. The thing that makes it work is how they fine tuned certain aspects to stand out but it’s never done too much or too little and, even in the darker scenes (there’s an entire 5-7 minutes of Charley and Ed standing in a dark abandoned house arguining) it does not feel like you’re watching nothing happen. Yes, there are the ‘throw stuff at your face’ moments but horror movies as a genre were made for 3D so you might as well use it for blood gushing and bits of dust flying around.
The two big issues I had with Fright Night also links with its biggest strength. There really isn’t much here at all. Vampire kills people, guy is suspicious of him as he becomes his neighbour, stuff happens and guy beats Vampire. It’s not some kind of long drawn out saga, it starts and it ends. In a way, as I mentioned before, it’s totally fine but . The latter part, it ending, is also kind of a downside as well. It doesn’t set up for anything in the future but also doesn’t wrap up obvious things that the movie talks about. Again, it’s not exactly going to be remembered as iconic or great for those reasons but that’s really not the point of it.
Fright Night is the dictionary definition of ‘Friday Night Movie’. Take your friends, take your loved one, take the people you know are going to jump when they want you to and laugh when they should. Heck, see it in 3D too. Just don’t go expecting something extrodinary and mindboggling you’ll be fine.
Fright Night is out now.