Like most horror fans, I don’t care to see some of my “classic” horror movies remade or “re-imagined”. There is a reason why they are considered classic. I do understand the business side of things and this is show business. The studios are out to make a buck and remaking old horror movies has been very profitable since, it seems, they have trouble bringing fans new horror stories. When the news got out that a new version of “Fright Night” was on the way, most fans of the original were not very pleased to hear about it. Fear not anymore, it’s actually pretty damn good.
The original “Fright Night” is considered to be one of the better vampire movies ever made. It was fun, kind of scary, the vampire makeup looked great, and Chris Sarandon did a terrific job playing the vampire Jerry. He even managed to make him sympathetic. Then there was Roddy McDowall, who played Peter Vincent the famous vampire killer. He played the role as if he was Van Helsing’s cowardly brother, and it worked.
The basic plot of “Fright Night” is just like the original: High school student, Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) lives with his single mother (Toni Collette) and life is good until they get a new next door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell). Charley believes Jerry is a vampire, but no one will believe him, not even his girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots) or vampire expert Peter Vincent (David Tennan). If someone doesn’t believe him soon the whole neighborhood might wind up dead, starting with Charley.
One aspect that was overlooked by some fans at the announcement of the remake was the person writing it, Marti Noxon. Any vampire fan worth their while knows that Noxon was one of the driving forces behind the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” television series. If there was one screenwriter out there who really knew her vampires, its Marti Noxon. She even manages more than a few nods to the original “Fright Night” that fans are sure to appreciate.
While the basic plot is the same in both “Fright Night” movies, that is where the similarities end; the dynamics have completely changed across the board. Most of the original characters may be back, but they are nothing like the characters they were in the original “Fright Night”. Farrell’s Jerry has a much more evil persona. Yelchin’s Charley carries much more confidence. Poot’s Amy is the hottest girl in school and the difference between Tennan’s Peter Vincent to McDowall’s is night and day! Christopher Mintz-Plasse takes over as “Evil” Ed, the role that Stephen Geoffrey made famous, and there is probably no other actor out there who could be more perfect for the role than Mintz-Plasse.
The way the story unfolded was a complete surprise to me and fans of the original, and audiences who never saw the original, will likely feel the same. Every time you think the story is going in one direction, it goes in another. I give a lot of credit to director Craig Gillespie on his interpretation of Noxon’s screenplay. He knows how to create good tension and has a solid aptitude for creating action sequences. A lot of credit must also go to Ramin Djawadi’s musical score, which caught my attention in the opening moments of the movie and the KNB effects company who did their usual superb job in the makeup department.
The 3D effects are pretty impressive too and is worth spending the extra bucks. When there is some fire ash in the airThe summer movie season is rapidly coming to a close. Last week horror fans got the lackluster “Final Destination 5”. This week they get “Fright Night” which more than makes up for it.