Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) lives with his mom (Toni Collette) in a new housing estate on the outskirts of Las Vegas. His father ran out on them and Charley naturally feels protective towards his mom, more so when new next door neighbour Jerry Dandridge (Colin Farrell), moves in, Charley is suspicious of their mutual attraction. However not as suspicious as his ex-best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who believes that Jerry is a vampire. Charley is initially dismissive of Ed’s claims because, well, Charley is a dickhead who dumped his previous best friend so that he could ‘fit-in’ with the cool kids at school when he scored hot girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots). Then Ed goes missing and Charley investigates…
I liked the original Fright Night, it was a fun, campy tribute to all those fun, campy horror movies I grew up watching as a little kid. The characters were well cast, especially Roddy McDowall, they were fun caricatures, quirky and we cared enough about them to enjoy the ride. Although the remake has better quality actors, they are given less interesting roles and feel slightly miscast, Colin Farrell apart, who is obviously having fun in a role that although not a stretch allows him to dominate the movie. Some mention must also be given to David Tennant plays Peter Vincent as a Criss Angel styled Las Vegas illusionist with obvious glee. He and Mintz-Plasse supply the only humour in what I assume was meant to be a horror comedy.
Fright Night looks good, it’s well shot and features a few excellent set-pieces, and that’s it. It doesn’t really have much else going for it. There are two well choreographed scenes, a home invasion (or home extraction), followed by car chase and Charley’s attempted rescue of a neighbour from Jerry’s house. These scenes apart, Fright Night has no tension, suspense or God forbid, horror; we know exactly what’s happening and where the movie is headed.
The special effects are awful in this remake; CGI effects have no place in the horror genre unless they are used to supplement traditional latex and make-up. The effects in Fright Night are almost exclusively CGI and the movie suffers because of it. Without CG, Colin Farrell appears menacing, with it he looks like a cartoon character. Awful design, awful execution, awful results… points off for the effects, they really are that bad.
On a positive note, Fright Night is a passable popcorn movie; I enjoyed it while in the cinema, it’s lightweight fun but it is also immediately forgettable. It is better than Van Helsing, but I hate Van Helsing more than almost any other movie I can recall, it was a massive waste of talent and resources, and so is Fright Night. It feels like an extended episode of Buffy. At least Jerry doesn’t sparkle in the sunshine.
Quality: 2 out of 5 stars
Any good: 2 out of 5 stars (a point off for bad CGI effects)