FRIGHT NIGHT is a remake of the 1985 cult classic of the same name and is directed by Craig Gillespie (LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, UNITED STATES OF TARA). The film stars Anton Yelchin (STAR TREK, TERMINATOR SALVATION) as a teenager who suspects his new neighbor, played by Colin Farrell (IN BRUGES, MIAMI VICE), is a vampire. I have actually seen the original movie this is based on and instead of constantly comparing the two I will talk about why this is a fun and worthwhile remake.
The best way to describe FRIGHT NIGHT is kind of like the vampire equivalent to ZOMBIELAND. I say that because it has a real dark sense of humor and takes its action pretty seriously. The story here is by no means complicated but it is engaging enough to avoid any dull moments. I actually found myself laughing aloud a few times here and there as well as being pretty impressed with a few of the action sequences. There is some legitimate suspense here and there and I did care about the fates of the characters even if they are a bit flat. It should also be noted that the overall pacing is pretty spot on and never slows down once the action and suspense heat up.
The thing I liked most about FRIGHT NIGHT was the fitting cast and the awesome performance by Colin Farrell as Jerry the vampire. He plays this character so cool and so perfectly that I can’t really imagine anyone else in this role. It looked like he had a blast with this one. He seriously owns here in what is one of my favorite performances by him ever. Anton Yelchin also fares pretty well as Charley Brewster even though I could not stop thinking that he may be a little too old to be playing a high school student. The film also stars Toni Collette (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) as Charley’s cool single mom, Imogen Poots (CENTURION) as Charley’s girlfriend, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (SUPERBAD) playing the same role he always does, and the awesome David Tenant (DOCTOR WHO) as Peter Vincent who is a famous magician/vampire artifact collector who Charley hires to help take down Jerry. Peter Vincent is the strongest character here besides Jerry and is really fun to watch. While I think some of the relationships between the characters could have been a bit better (especially between Jerry and his girlfriend), I’d say that overall the cast here plays well together and they are all a blast to watch.
So is FRIGHT NIGHT a good “vampire flick”? These days Hollywood as made a crap ton of vampire movies and the trend does not seem to be letting up anytime soon. That said, vampire movies these days have the potential to really suck (sorry) and I am always a bit hesitant to check out a new one. I do love a good vampire movie (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and BLADE 2 being my favorites) and I can safely say that this one ranks up there close to my favorites but is much closer to “pretty good” rather that “completely awesome”. The movie does address a lot of the classic vampire myths such as splashing holy water, having to be invited into a home, garlic, and the trusty holy cross and it was fun seeing which ones worked on Jerry as Charley desperately tries to take him down. The movie had a lot of fun testing out different methods to avoid or kill vampires that often ended in pretty hilarious or bad ass ways.
Last but not least is the action. The trailer made it seem like this was going to be a balls to the wall vampire action flick. While I personally think there could have been more risks taken in the action department, I do appreciate the hand full of awesome action scenes that we did get. They were mostly short but sweet and you probably saw a lot of it in the movies trailer unfortunately. This is definitely a movie that would be a lot better had I not seen the trailer. It should also be noted that the overall visual style for this movie is very cool and the dark dusky tone is fitting and fun.
Overall I had a blast with FRIGHT NIGHT. I really enjoyed watching Colin Farrell do his thing and I am now a fan of David Tennant as an actor. The visual style and pacing really add to this movies fun and I really appreciated the awesome blend of comedy and action. While I would have liked some more risks in the story, characters and action, what we do get is above average. The characters were fun to watch and obviously had fun making this movie. Also, I have to say that this movie could have EASILY been rated PG-13 because I cannot think of a single moment that warrants an R rating. I have seen things on shows like BREAKING BAD that are much much more violent and intense. FRIGHT NIGHT is a very worthwhile remake that updated and modernized the story of the original for a new generation. I would definitely revisit this movie on Blu-Ray and hope it gets some sort of unrated director’s cut. Recommended.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10