A rarity for sure, but “Fright Night” proves a remake can still be done right.
***** out of 5
Rated R for bloody horror violence and language including some sexual references.
Article first published as Movie Review: Fright Night (2011) on Blogcritics.
In the land of Hollywood, remakes/reboots/reimaginings, what have you, reign supreme. When it comes to horror films, that number is ever higher. Sometimes it feels like every month there’s at least one sequel or remake coming down the chute lately. If you’ve seen this year’s earlier entry, “Scream 4,” Hayden Panettiere’s character loves her horror movies and when asked to name a particular remake in a conversation with Ghostface, names off at least 20 entries. While the greats are few and far between, there’s just no stopping horror fans from coming back for more. Just last week we even got a series’ return to form with “Final Destination 5.” So it is without further ado that yet another cult classic is reborn, to far greater aplomb, with Tom Holland’s “Fright Night.”
Hitting the ground running, a quiet night in a Las Vegas suburb is interrupted with a vampire attacking and killing teenage Adam (Will Denton) and his parents. Turns out, Adam was friends with best friends Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) and “Evil” Ed Thompson (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Ed and Charley are having bromance issues of their own thanks to Charley managing to snag the girl of his dreams, Amy (Imogen Poots). Charley thinks because he has decided to “grow up” and get a girlfriend that he’s too good for hanging out with Ed and sticks him on the back burner. Even if he still can’t help but lust for his neighbor across the street Doris (Emily Montague). Next door we find new neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell) has just moved in but just can’t seem to finish his interior decorating and Charley’s mom Jane (Toni Collette) wishes Jerry would at least get rid of his eyesore of a dumpster camped out on his front lawn.
While 3D at the movies will always and forever be nothing more than a gimmick and a reason for boosting ticket sales, sometimes it can pay off. In this case it’s still totally unnecessary but adds some sense to the fun thanks to director Gillespie’s independent filmmaking background and sensibilities. There are some amazingly staged action/suspense sequences spread throughout including but far from limited to a high speed pursuit and a simple escape from inside Jerry’s house. Both of those scenes also end with some of the most hilarious punchlines in quite some time. And let’s just say that ash and embers may wind up being a new prerequisite when it comes to 3D effects in horror films. Along with snow fall it just may be the ace in the hole for truly effective 3D gimmickry.
Photos courtesy DreamWorks SKG