Fright Night (2011)
By: Angela Moss on May 1, 2012  | 
Walt Disney | Region B | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD 7.1 | 106 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Toni Collette, David Tennant, Imogen Poots
Screenplay: Marti Noxon
Country: USA
External Links
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When I first heard tell of a remake of the 1985 classic, Fright Night, I was a little apprehensive. I guess I was still reeling from other butchered re-imaginings of childhood favourites, such as the Clash of the Titans (the horror!). Superbly cast with Chris Sarandon's turn as the effortlessly suave, cable knit sweater wearing vampiric neighbour a joy to watch, the original Fright Night has been a favourite of mine due to its delivery of camp Gothic horror with a knowing wink and 80's cheesiness, but I tried to push my undying love for that movie aside and give this 2011 remake a chance.

The story centres on Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) an awkward teenager who has recently escaped the shackles of geek-dom in favour of hanging out with the cool crowd and his uber vixen girlfriend Amy (played by Imogen Poots). Ed, a former friend from his nerdy past (played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse, forever known as Mc Lovin) attempts to enlighten Charley to the neighbourhood vampiric scourge responsible for a spate of local murders. It isn't until after Ed's disappearance and a little surveillance that Charley becomes convinced his new neighbour really is a blood sucking creature of the night, and he then enlists the help of an occult specialist/magician/Criss Angel wannabe played by David Tennant, of Dr Who fame. Naturally, hijinks ensue…

Although the supplanting of Roddy McDowall's Peter Vincent, the out of work actor famous for playing a vampire hunter, for a guyliner wearing magician doesn't make much sense, David Tennant is the highlight of the film. He makes the most of his horrible, leather clad, egotistical character to deliver the laughs. Colin Farrell is disappointing as Jerry, lacking the charisma that Chris Sarandon projected as the blood sucking neighbour (look out for his cameo). Anton Yelchin gives an adequate performance as Charley Brewster, yet is let down by the failings of the script.

The script suffers from modernisations that feel shoe-horned into the story with no real need. The groan inducing scene where Charley downloads a lock picking app to assist with his sleuthing comes to mind. The changes made to the story smack of a marketing team's attempt to make the film more 'edgy' and 'now'. Also, the disappearances plaguing the suburban community are never properly touched upon and in removing the original's interplay between the late night horror fare shown on Peter Vincent's TV show and the supernatural happenings in Jerry's house, they lost the clever tip of the hat to a Hammer-esque aesthetic.

The musical score at times sounded suspiciously similar to the main theme from Bram Stoker's Dracula. This is especially evident in the scene, ripped directly from the aforementioned film, in which Jerry cuts his chest for Amy to drink his blood.

The use of poor CGI effects is really noticeable in this film (unfortunately, a plight of many films today), with the blood looking cartoonish and the overuse of stock standard 3D scare tactics like having things pop at the screen continuously is distracting.

While viewing the remake I couldn't help but feel that it was lacking something. Although the film features some great actors, like the underused Toni Collette as Charley's Mum, they just didn't have enough to work with in terms of the script to reach the classic horror/comedy heights of the original. Also, at some stage in the process of adding 'edgy', modern storylines, sexier cast members and an overuse of CGI, they lost the charm.
The HD Blu-Ray picture quality is crisp and clear. However, it only makes the poor CGI effects more visible.
The disc offers good sound quality with a DTS-HD 7.1 mix. The dialogue is clear and the action/suspense scenes are quite loud.
Extra Features
The 2D Blu-ray release comes with 5 Deleted & Extended Scenes, a Gag Reel, Kid Cudi's "No One Believes Me" music video, and 3 Featurettes: Squid Man: Extended & Uncut, Peter Vincent: Swim Inside My Mind, and The Official "How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie" Guide.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Although it has its fun moments there just aren't enough of them to put it in the same league as the original. The cheap CGI effects, especially the poorly rendered blood (you shouldn't skimp on a vital ingredient for a vampire flick), lacklustre script and trite attempts at making the film 'edgy' don't make this Fright Night very memorable. However if you haven't seen the original you may find more to like. My advice is to re-watch the original instead. And if you haven't seen it you should remedy that immediately.

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