The Gist: A teenager must prove that his new neighbor is a vampire, responsible for a string of suspicious deaths in the neighborhood.
First Impressions: Can Colin Farrell really pull of the scares in spite of the added CGI? Anton Yelchin and Toni Collette always give solid performances and the tone of the trailer hints at a nod to the 1985 original.
Fright Night delivered a good update to earlier vampire films, bringing back a darker approach than more recent movies (sorry Twihards).
Las Vegas resident, Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) tries to find a balance between his cool new friends, as well as popular girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots), and his geeky friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). It is after Ed disappears that Charley begins to believe his last warning, that Charley’s new neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire responsible for the recent mysterious deaths in the area. Of course it doesn’t help when Ed’s prediction turns out to be true, as Jerry targets Charley, his mother Jane (Toni Collette), and Amy. Charley’s only hope seems to rest in the hands of Peter Vincent (David Tennant), a performer at the Hard Rock hotel.
Fright Night certainly gave nods to predecessors of the vampire genre, making fun of Twilight, as well as mentioning Dark Shadows, Dracula and the “Scooby gang” (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Staying true to certain vampire myths was also appreciated, with Jerry not casting a reflection, needing an invitation to enter a home, and you can bet the sun does not make them sparkle.
Much thanks to director Craig Gillespie for a modest but appropriate use of special effects (as well as a certain cameo). Along with Farrell’s acting, this made for increased believability in what the audience was watching. And while Mintz-Plasse successfully stepped out of his comfort zone, Collette was seriously underused; Yelchin did a fine job though nothing extraordinary. Much of the climax was predictably predictable, but a use of old school spooks in a modern atmosphere helped to carry the simple plot.
While it is not going to win any awards, this modern update to the 1985 Fright Night was a success in its attempt to make a watchable film rather than cash in on a remake.
One Positive Critique: During the car chase scene, the single rotating shot came across as effortless even though, for the length of the shot as well as what occurred during it, you know much effort was put behind it.
This film was seen at the AMC Owings Mills.