I’m usually not a fan of horror films because most of them I find to be terrible. I had never even heard of Fright Night until about two weeks before I saw it, when I saw a trailer. It went something like this: Oh great another vampire movie….well at least he’s not sparkling but….wait a minute….is that Colin Farrell? There is no way that’s him he would never do….wow it IS him. What the hell is he doing in a vampire movie? To be honest I’m not even a Colin Farrell fan, although I do think he’s a solid actor. The casting choice just seemed SO strange that I was intrigued to see what would happen. What happened is a horror movie that does not stumble where many others do: taking itself too seriously. There are some legitimate scares and creepy scenes to be found here, but there are just as many if not more laughs. Laughs that the film does on purpose! It’s a somewhat strange film both in tone, writing, and casting, but the end result is a truly enjoyable movie.
The first thing that stands out in Fright Night is the cast. It is of a much higher quality that I expected given the film’s subject matter. I figured that Colin Farrell would be the one person I’ve heard of and then be surrounded by no names, as tends to happen with movies like this, but I was blown away. Anton Yelchin of Star Trek and Terminator Salvation fame plays the hero to Farrell’s villain. Toni Collette plays his MOM. Imogen Poots (who was the best part of 28 Weeks Later) plays his girlfriend. And fresh off of Doctor Who and in the people love me I can do whatever the hell movie I want phase, we also have David Tennant as a occult obsessed Las Vegas showman. The cast plays the subject matter straight for the most part, but it’s quite clear when viewing the film that everybody is having FUN. It gave off the same vibe as Ocean’s 11 in that everybody involved is having a blast making the film, which makes it more fun for the audience. The last casting bit worth mentioning was my favorite. Yes, McLovin himself, Christopher Mintz-Plasse makes an appearance and is his usual hilarious self. I almost feel bad for the guy. He was so good in Super Bad as the nerdy kid that he’s been typecast in that role in practically every film since (including this one). He gets to branch out slightly here in a spectacular way, but he is basically again playing McLovin. I’d like to see him try something else. That being said, I only ALMOST feel bad for him because he’s making millions of dollars acting nerdy. I do that everyday and get no money at all for it!
Anyway, the plot of the actual movie, right. Yelchin plays Charlie, a normal high school kid with normal high school problems, such as trying to not let his current girlfriend Amy (Poots) find out about his super nerdy past and his friendship with Ed (Mintz-Plasse). Or enduring watching his mom Jane flirt with the new neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell). As it turns out, Jerry isn’t exactly what he seems at first, as any trailer to the film will show you. As Charlie, with Ed’s help, slowly starts to figure out Jerry is a threat some of the film’s best moments happen, as Charlie knows what Jerry is, Jerry knows Charlie knows, but neither can actually say anything. It culminates in a clever scene involving the how a vampire can’t enter another person’s house without being invited that Farrell especially seems to enjoy. The events lead Charlie to Peter Vincent, a supposedly true vampire hunter who also does a Las Vegas show, played absolutely brilliantly by David Tennant. He steals every scene he’s in. Fright Night does an excellent job of ramping up as it goes on, with small scares and a bit of tension to start, to it’s completely over the top ending. It definitely sways into the ridiculous at points, but given the light tone of the film and it being a comedy as much as a horror movie, I didn’t feel like it detracted. Plus, it’s fun to see such serious actors as Farrell and Collette go a little bit nuts. The entire sequence involving what I guess I will term a car chase is excellently done and is scary and hilarious at the same time.
I enjoyed the film greatly, but one thing that is NOT worth seeing is the 3d version of the film. I did and it added absolutely nothing. There was no reason for anything in this film to be 3d, that version was released purely for the extra cash it will no doubt bring in for the studio. Stick with the 2D version. Some of the CGI was not that impressive either, but it was used sparingly enough that it’s only a minor quibble.
Fright Night is not a GREAT film, but I find myself having almost all good things to say about it. I enjoy films that are aware of what they are and just have fun with it. I don’t think Colin Farrell as a vampire would work in an Interview with a Vampire type setting, but here he nails it. The film even acknowledges this in a way, with almost every characters response to a claim of “Jerry’s a vampire!” is “A vampire named Jerry? Yeah, right.” A comedy/horror vampire movie with the star cast against type? Yeah, right. Turns out though, Jerry IS a vampire, and Fright Night is worth seeing.
Authors Note: I know this is a remake, but I have absolutely no knowledge of the original. So I’m choosing to review the film purely on its own merits. Anybody who has seen the original, leave a comment on how it compares!