Oh hey there, Hollywood! Great to see you again. What’s that you said? Another remake?? Well I don’t know… I mean, you’ve been forcing those down my throat for years. I’m not sure if I can handle another one right now! I mean, after Willy Wonka, Arthur, Prom Night, Christmas Carol, Rollerball, and others, I wanna make sure I leave some room for Conan, Footloose, and the Spider-Man reboot, a 2002 franchise that clearly needed a makeover and in no way had set the new standard for superhero movies at the time of its release. You know, 9 years ago.
So like any good addict, I headed down to my supplier (AMC) to get a hit (movie) and let the euphoria wash over my body (regret at having wasted another $10 at the theater). But then something incredible happened when I realized quickly into the flick that I was totally enjoying it! Fright Night is one of those horror movies that has always been good fun to watch late night on the Sci Fi channel or whatever, but honestly hasn’t aged very well. The special effects are pretty dated, the acting mostly isn’t great, and it sort of gets relegated to the cheesy 80’s movie bin in the Blockbuster of the mind. The original Fright Night is the story of one Charlie Brewster who suspects that his sexy, new neighbor may be a vampire, and soon finds himself caught up in Jerry’s sinister web of villainy . Yes, the vampire’s name is Jerry. Anyway, with his BFF, girlfriend, and single mother all at risk from this next door Nosferatu, Charlie enlists the help of supposed occult authority and washed up actor, Vincent Price. Together the two set out to destroy their resident demon like the very pissed off neighborhood watch they are.
The remake doesn’t stray from this formula too much, instead focusing on tighter effects, updating the setting, and giving it a much needed sleek and sexy veneer. Charlie (Anton Yelchin) and his buddy Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) used to be a couple of super dorks living in the suburbs of Las Vegas, but Charlie decides that high school is the time to reinvent himself as one of the cool kids so that he can start scoring hotter girls. Around this same time, Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door with those brooding good looks, bedroom eyes, and washboard abs. Ed immediately recognizes him as a vampire, but Charlie now playing the role of cool guy douchebag wants nothing to do with his weirdo friend’s fantasies.
Well it’s not long before Charlie realizes his mistake as kids and neighbors continue to go missing, and he seeks the help of Vincent Price (David Tennant), now a Vegas strip high end illusionist whose act is based off the vampiric mythos. I thought that the reimagined Price was one of the best things the remake brought to the table, and I relished every second of Tennant’s screen time. I’m not one to give things away, but trust me that his mix of smarm and showmanship make for a very entertaining character.
This is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Bits of the comedy fall flat, but not so much that it becomes unenjoyable. The gore isn’t overbearing, and I could have actually used a bit more, at least for my taste. There were definitely some good “BOO!” moments, and the special effects were used sparingly and, uh… effectively. Although I love the guy and the movies he’s been in, I AM starting to get a little tired of the Mintz-Plasse-McLovin machine. He does alright with the screen time he’s given, but for my money, nothing beats Colin Farrell in this movie.
I’m not a gay man, but I could not take my eyes off Farrell whenever he popped up on screen. This was for reasons beyond his biceps and bad boy persona that screams, “I may be bad, but you could be the one who tames me!” I really thought that Farrell was the perfect actor for the role because again, these guys knew they weren’t exactly making Citizen Kane here. Jerry has to be sexy, dangerous, disarming, terrifying, sinister, and playful. And he has to be all these things at once! Whether Farrell was silently seducing Mrs. Brewster with a smouldering stare, threatening Charlie with a mix of terror and bantor (terrantor), or simply furrowing those aphrodisiatic caterpillars he calls eyebrows, I was totally riveted. A dozen or so cold showers later, and I’m still basking in the memory of that performance.
There are plenty of tongue-in-cheek jokes for the original FN fans, wicked action scenes, and I think it’s a great homage to its predecessor. Plus, no goddamn sparkling vampires. No, we’re getting back to basics with your violent, undead, gorgeous, taught, rippling, Colin Farrell’s buttocks.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!