A Discussion of Fright Night

A remake that does not suck; except for blood. See, the movies about vampires, so I needed a joke about sucking.

But seriously, Fright Night is pretty awesome. I give the original points for having a neat concept and basically retelling Dracula in the suburbs but this movie takes that concept and hones it to a fine edge.

Short story version, if you got a need to see a vampire movie go check this one out. It has fun with the genre but treats things pretty seriously, the comedy here coming more from absurdidy of the situation and not from a mockery of the source material. This movie is ‘Dracula in the suburbs’ and it’s pretty effective. It’s nearly my favorite vampire film since Lost Boys. That’s not an insult, Lost Boys is awesome.

Long story? I love how they took a story with a great idea and recut it, keeping key scenes and elements but using this time to really perfect the story. In the old film it begins with the hero ignoring his girlfriend and obsessed with the notion that his neighbor is a vampire. It gives us the premise but then drags on with the whole “no one believes me” aspect. In the new film that scene is mid movie, and it makes much more sense as we have followed this kid on the journey and know that is at risk. They improved the plot, tossed out the trash, and kicked in some pretty awesome elements. The car chase was pretty awesome and really hammers in the theme of “You can’t run away.” The original film played with mixing the old traditions in a modern world, this one gives the vampire the benefit of the doubt and has his screw with the heads of mortals who dare oppose him.

These changes provide a lot of fuel for the remake. In the 1985 film Evil Ed was just ‘the best friend’ who existed to help the hero with something he should have already known. Also his voice was really annoying and he failed to do anything of any merit in the course of the film. Here he grounds the main character, and really kick starts the whole plot. Plus he engages in nerd blackmail and that’s pretty awesome. As for the hero, he gets a bit of a short stick being surrounded by people who get to play with their archetypes. He has to be the dependable hero, a role Yelchin dives into pretty well. I really like Yelchin, who, in Terminator Salvation managed to do a perfect Kyle Reese impersonation. The boy has a knack for tackling icons and he does it well.

But to hell with the heroes, the best bits of this movie are owned by Colin Farrell and David Tennant. Farrell brings a huge change as Jerry the Vampire. Far from the suave, suit wearing euro vamp he has learned to adapt to his new surroundings. He plays the vampire as a true predator, out for the hunt and nearly removed from humanity. He’s not an alpha dog, he’s the only dog and he doesn’t care who he challenges. It’s pretty cool, and I love watching him try and weasel his way into the hero’s house.

Tennant also mixes things up, mostly because there aren’t a lot of horror movie hosts in the world anymore. But here he plays a man with his own Las Vegas stage show. His theme is vampires and he sells himself as an expert, but behind closed doors he’s just a shade away from alcoholism and true cowardice. Tennant is an amazing actor, and I love watching him have fun with his roles. He seems to truly enjoy inhabiting a role and making it his.

So yeah, this flick takes a good story, switches it up and improves on it in nearly every respect. Sure there is a bit of dodgy CGI and…actually I can’t think of anything else. I disliked a bit of the CGI, but even the original vamps went over the top so I’m pretty happy. This movie rocks.

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One thought on “A Discussion of Fright Night

  1. I like that your definition of “a shade away from alcoholism” is a character who might have had a handful of sentences where he did not actually drink between breaths.

    But Jill and I saw this and we both thought it was great. Just the right amount of teenage angst, the right amount of “are they real?” The right amount of “will they believe him,” then right up into a great climax that I’m pretty sure lasted for a full third of the movie.

    However, Tennant was a bit removed from importance for me, not having seen Doctor Who and all. But still, all good.

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