Posted on 12/15/11 10:34 AM
Fans tend to get upset when Hollywood decides to remake a treasured movie, but I don't see much harm if the reboot is well done. "Fright Night," the 1985 cult-classic horror-comedy, was not exactly Shakespeare - but it was a lot of fun. "Fright Night," the 2011 version, is not quite as witty as its progenitor - but it, too, is a lot of fun.
Director Craig Gillespie and scripter Marti Noxon get a lot of things right for their remake, and they even toss in an improvement or two. The story's new setting, a cookie-cutter suburban tract near Las Vegas, is ideal for a vampire movie; hellish already, this bland chunk of isolated humanity is ripe for a monster invasion.
The film also retains the original's wicked sense of humor. And Anton Yelchin, as an awkward teen who suspects that his new neighbor might be a blood sucker, was an inspired casting choice. Yelchin is entirely believable as a kid struggling with high school horrors and, once Jerry the vampire (Colin Farrell) moves in next door, much, much more. Charley is such an innocuous "every kid" that, five minutes after the film ended, I doubt that I could have picked him out of a police lineup - even though I identified with him every minute of the film.
But "Fright Night" version II can't top the original. David Tennant, as monster hunter Peter Vincent, is no Roddy McDowall. Baby-faced Farrell, as the hunky vampire, is much better than I expected, but when he and his fellow undead are required to pull off the titular "fright night," the results are a bit of a letdown. Special effects can do only so much.
Expanded Review At: Grouchyeditor.com