Saturday, August 20, 2011

Movie Review: Fright Night

First off, I’ll admit the main reason I went to go watch Fright Night was for David Tennant. Solely going to a movie because of one actor can be a good or bad thing. Good because you will leave entertained. Bad because you will leave wanting your $10 and 2 hours from your life back. Luckily watching the movie turned out to be the former. 

The basic premise of the movie is the same as the original, Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) believes his neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) is vampire but his family and friends have their doubts. With them not believing him, he turns to Peter Vincent (Tennant) and enlists him to help exterminate Jerry.
However in this version, it’s Charley’s friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who believes that Jerry is the vampire and Charley wants none of it. He’s with the cool kids now with the hot girlfriend, Amy to boot (Imogen Poots) and doesn’t want to go back to his geeky ways. It isn’t until Ed is a no-show in class that Charley really starts checking out who his neighbor really is. Also this time around instead of being a late night horror TV host that was played by Roddy McDowall in the original, Peter Vincent is an alcohol-swigging Las Vegas illusionist who’s a mix of Chriss Angel and Russell Brand. 

What I really liked about the movie is that it wasn’t a shot for shot remake of the original and instead pulled ideas from the movie and made it its own. Which made the new location for the movie, Las Vegas, work really well. Not only is it an place that is known for their 24 hour nightlife, where you can work at night and sleep during the day. But it’s also one of the cities that was hit hard by the housing crisis as illustrated in the beginning of the movie where for sale signs were sprouting up in Charley’s neighborhood, some that his mom (Toni Collette) has put up since she is a real estate agent. Kids missing in class? People would just think that their families pulled them out because their home went into foreclosure and had to move. 

Another thing is the friendship between Charley and Ed. Unlike the original where Charley and Ed were partners in crime, he was now with the cool crowd and had no time with his former best friend. Charley wants to move past what he used to be that he doesn’t give a second thought that their other friend Adam is not in school. It takes Ed blackmailing Charley with a cheesy video of them, in order for him to help Ed find out what happened in Adam’s house. Even then Charley is not convinced and ditches Ed right before he probably needs him the most. The vampires may not be real, but the feeling that you need to shed your old self and friends in order to roll with the cool crowd certainly happens in high school. We have all been on the receiving end of at one time and it’s not fun. Unfortunately for Charley, it was too late once he realized how much of a dick he was to Ed. 

 I also thought that all the actors did a great job in the movie. Anton Yelchin held his own as Charley who did start out as a douche but by the end of the movie manned up and did what he had to do to save his mom and girlfriend. Although I already knew the fate of Ed from the original, I did want Christopher Mintz-Plasse to have more screen time. He acted exactly how someone would act if their friend started distancing themselves. Where it’s like “hey, why the need to stop hanging out with us just because you’re popular now.”
Colin Farrell was the perfect choice to play Jerry as he is the antithesis of the current crop of brooding lovelorn vampires. He's sexy as hell (which he oozes out in order to catch his prey) and was always one step ahead of everyone else. He’s out for blood and will do anything to get, even if it means blowing up your house.

Finally how can I not talk about David Tennant? Even though he doesn’t have a lot of screen time in the film, he’s one of the highlights. I just loved his combination of charisma and bravado as Peter Vincent. His mix of humor and vulnerability (especially after you find out about his backstory) helped drive his story and why he wasn’t so keen on helping Charley out at first. I think if anyone one else were to play Peter, it would have been more of a caricature of a boozy Vegas act. Also can we just objectify him for a moment and say how frigging hot he looks in leather pants oh and that he was shirtless for most of the time. Swoon.

I do wish it was more gorier which is funny since I usually don’t like watching scary movies. But I thought that the original was a little bit more of the gore factor going on. I still give credit though to director Craig Gillespie for making me jump from during the movie and to screenwriting Marti Noxon for a script that never felt bogged down or over the top. There are also some funny references to Twilight (obviously) and Buffy and some interesting cameos. Overall, Fright Night did live up to it’s name and like the original is destined to become a cult classic. 

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