Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Fright Night (2011) - 3.5/5
Charley (Telchin) is struggling to find his new groove as a popular kid in suburbia. He's got a pretty girlfriend (Poots) who he's dying to impress, his single mother is doing her best in real estate, and things are looking up. That is until an old friend Ed (Mintz-Plasse) disappears after confessing that he believes the new neighbor Jerry (Farrell) is a vampire. Charley must now face an evil next door with the help of a skeptical girlfriend and the drunken expertise of Peter Vincent (Tennant).
My fears for "Fright Night" is that it would end up being a film of ridiculous modern humor and lacking the charm of the 80s original. Both of these are apparent in this adaption, but not to near the extent that would undermine the entire experience. "Fright Night" is a simply enjoyable film. It benefits from its R rating with its vicious horror violence that does modernize it with the extensive gore moments and fast sequences and slabs on enough atmosphere with a bit of help from director Gillespie's knack for tension. In many ways, "Fright Night" works on its horror charm ridiculously well and its these extreme moments that sell the film.
Despite its well executed horror elements, its the comedic ones that tend to fall flat. There are a few smile moments, but not to the extent that the film was broadcast as. This is more or less due to the films focus on characters and plot progressions and not "comedic sequences". They occasionally pop up with some solid lines particularly from the very expertly modernized Vincent character and his brashness, but overall its the biggest letdown of the film.
As with any adaption (whether it be from game, comic book, TV show, or film) the casting is a big part of this film. Yelchin ably pulls off the awkward but charming lead, but its the supporting cast that earns this film my respect. Farrell simply OWNS as the vampire Jerry with his weird dialogue and quirky moments and Tennant gives the film its comedic weight as our vampire "expert" and alcoholic. Just these two characters could have carried the film with a weaker lead (poor Poots gets a rather lackluster love interest though). .
As a huge fan of the original "Fright Night", its a pleasure to see this modern telling actually even hold a candle to the original. It's horrifying and funny when it needs to be and its casting is solid if not more so than expected. It does lack a bit of charm at times and seems rushed to get all of the parts in at times, but its still a solid and fun time. A definite surprise for this reviewer.
Written By Matt Reifschneider