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Movie Review: Fright Night

August 19, 2011

Fright Night – A Touchstone Pictures’ Release

http://www.welcometofrightnight.com/

Release Date: August 19th, 2011

Rated 14A for coarse language, frightening scenes and graphic violence

Running time: 106 minutes

Craig Gillespie (dir.)

Marti Noxon (screenplay)

Tom Holland (story)

Based on the 1985 film directed by Tom Holland

Ramin Djawadi (music)

Anton Yelchin as Charley Brewster

Colin Farrell as Jerry

Toni Collette as Jane Brewster

David Tennant as Peter Vincent

Imogen Poots as Amy

Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Ed

Dave Franco as Mark

Reid Ewing as Ben

Will Denton as Adam

Chris Sarandon as Jay Dee

©Touchstone Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is threatened by vampire Jerry (Colin Ferrall) in Fright Night.

Our reviews below:

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Fright Night Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

I usually don’t see the point of remaking classics, especially some of the excellent teenage films of the 1980’s.  But the smoothly entertaining Fright Night is a big exception to this rule.  Director Craig Gillespie’s take on the definitive 1985 horror and comedy classic delivers a lot of surprisingly entertaining late-summer popcorn fun.  At its best, the film is actually kind of awesome.

Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is living with his mom (Toni Collette) in a Las Vegas suburb.  He has a hot girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots), and is finally starting to gain respect at high school by ignoring his best friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).  But his seemingly perfect teenaged life is shattered when kids start disappearing and the news is broken that his neighbour, Jerry (Colin Farrell), is a bloodthirsty vampire.  It’s up to Charlie to take him down, but first he must consult the help of a supposed expert on the supernatural, Peter Vincent (David Tennent), who has a TV show by the name of Fright Night.

The perfect casting is a part of what makes Fright Night so bloody entertaining.  Anton Yelchin works as an appealing lead, rocking it like an action star during some of the best set-pieces.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse reprises his often played role as the jealous nerdy friend, but he gives his character an eerie believability and sharp comic timing.  Colin Farrell is smoothly creepy and always entertaining to watch in the pivotal role of Jerry, making us terrified one minute and cracking up the next.  Last but certainly not least, David Tennent seems to be having a lot of fun with his role as the aptly named Peter Vincent, as he delivers some of the funniest and best scenes in the film.

From beginning to end, Fright Night works as an homage to the 1985 original and horror movies in general before disgustingly brutal slasher films and torture-porn all but ruined the genre.  To be sure, necks are bitten and blood is sometimes splattered onto the lenses of our 3D glasses, but the amount of gore thankfully never really goes beyond what we need to deliver the scares.  There are also some slyly effective jump moments, with a fair amount of genuine suspense refreshingly built as we merely wait for something to happen.  Perhaps most satisfying is the way that the film quickly destroys the Twilight image of vampires as swooning and lovesick.

Hardcore fans of horror who don’t mind having a little fun with the genre are sure to lap up every second of the sharply produced Fright Night, and everyone else can just sit back and enjoy the scary and sometimes wickedly funny ride.

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Fright Night Review by Erin V.  

*** (out of 4)

Based on the movie of the same name from 1985, Fright Night is a remake with suspense and campy fun, providing a classic good vs. evil story.

The film opens with vampire Jerry (Colin Ferrell) ‘feeding’ off of a family, before we cut to the life of Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin), a high school senior who just happens to be Jerry’s next door neighbour.  Charley doesn’t realize the danger he is in, until his friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) informs him that he has been staking out Jerry and plotting a map of the disappearances of fellow students for months.  When Charley’s mother starts flirting with Jerry, Charley tries to convince her of the trouble they could be in, and soon finds himself in a showdown with Jerry, enlisting the help of vampire expert and Vegas magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant), for info on how to kill the seemingly unstoppable threat-next-door.

This is not really my kind of movie ordinarily, but I found myself to actually enjoy this one.  It had a certain stylistically cool ‘summer entertainment’ feel to it.  Part of the fun comes from the performances from the actors, which are very well-done, setting the tone for the film.  In fact, the leads are pretty much pitch-perfect – Yelchin plays it wonderfully straight in his scenes against the entertaining performances of Ferrell, Tennant, and Mintz-Plasse.  The score from Ramin Djawadi also works quite well.  Providing several jump moments, as well as a just scary enough edge-of-your-seat fight to the death in the third act, this is not like a lot of horror films these days.  This is really classed as horror because of the vampire as villain element, but it could just as easily be any kind of threat – from murderer to supervillain.  Although more action-thriller than overly creepy, there is some gore on screen (enhanced a couple of times by the 3D), but it doesn’t go overboard.  The film holds up in 2D as well.

Rated 14A in Canada, teens can definitely see this one.  The R-rating in the States, comes just as much – if not more – from the language, as the violence in itself is more hard PG-13 level stuff.

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Fright Night Review by Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Based on the 1985 cult classic, Fright Night provides the fun kind of scares that are usually reserved for Halloween night.  Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) has noticed strange things about his next door neighbour, Jerry (Colin Farrell).  Kids are disappearing from school, and Charley doesn’t know why.  But his friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has a theory.  Jerry is a vampire, an undead creature who is rather hungry and very hard to destroy.  So he must consult Peter Vincent (David Tennent), a stage magician who knows how to repel and exterminate vampires.  Charley and Peter Vincent set out on a terrifying vampire takedown at Jerry’s place, which contains more than just a few spooks.

Fright Night has everything that you want from a horror-comedy.  There are a couple of laughs, lots of great jump moments and good yet campy special effects.  Anton Yelchin has a cute old school charm, reminiscent of many 1980’s teenaged actors.  Colin Farrell is deliciously psychopathic and just perfect as an evil vampire charmer.  David Tennent is hilarious as the rich and spoiled Peter Vincent.

While I am not usually a horror fan, I enjoyed Fright Night as it never crosses the line from spooky to disturbing.  Like the scary movies of yesteryear, it has just the right amount of jump moments, although I did close my eyes every time Jerry took a bite.  Fright Night is the perfect summer blockbuster for viewers 12 and older who want a thrillingly spooky adventure.

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Fright Night Review by Maureen

*** (out of 4)

What kind of vampire is named “Jerry?”  That would be the sexy – but not in a brooding Edward from Twilight kind of way – vampire in Fright Night.  Colin Farrell is perfect as Jerry, the mysterious and sexy neighbour next door.  There is always a hint of spoof in his performance and just the right amount of scary.  When he does the vampire thing and bites necks there is blood, but this feels like an older vampire movie in many ways.  Although it never seems dated.

Anton Yelchin plays Jerry’s neighbour, Charley Brewster, who is immediately suspicious especially when fellow students are disappearing and his childhood friend, the geeky Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) warns him that Jerry is a vampire who is likely responsible.  Be careful for your mother (Toni Collette) and girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) Ed warns.  Too bad for Ed that Charley doesn’t listen.

There is a genuine sense of suspense throughout the movie as Charley, Ed and Amy go on a quest to uncover and destroy Jerry.  With the help of a vampire expert, magician Peter Vincent (David Tennent) Charley gets outfitted with everything that a guy would need to take down an evil vampire.  But it’s the excellent performances particularly by Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin that make Fright Night old-school scary fun.  There’s enough blood to remind us this a vampire horror film, but enough funny dialogue and references to other vampire flicks to keep the tone entertaining.

Based on the popular 1985 movie, Fright Night, this remake has enough going for it to ensure it has a following of its own.  This is good scary fun.

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Fright Night Review by Tony

*** (out of 4)

Fright Night is a remake of the 1985 film. Charley (Anton Yelchin) and his mom (Toni Collette) live in a Las Vegas suburb. Charley initially ignores warnings from his geeky childhood friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) about Jerry (Colin Farrell), the vampire next door, until Ed and others disappear. Jerry appears overly friendly with Charley’s unsuspecting mom and girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots), all the while taunting Charley. Charley seeks the advice of the tacky Las Vegas vampire illusionist Peter Vincent (David Tennant) who blows him off at first, and by the time he comes up with real proof, things get really messy and it may be too late to stop Jerry.

I must admit not being a fan of horror films, particularly the recent ultraviolent torture porn devoid of humour, and have never seen the original film. Though Fright Night has its share of suspense and gore, it is nicely balanced with wit, neither taking itself too seriously nor descending into spoof, but what really makes it work are the excellent performances. As in the all but ignored but highly recommended The Beaver, Anton Yelchin is perfect as a high school kid just trying to survive, playing off the rest of the cast brilliantly in every scene. Colin Farrell is at once chilling and funny, David Tennant is hilarious as a narcissistic star, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is at his nerdy best. Watch for a cameo from Chris Sarandon (the original Jerry) as an unwitting victim.

In summary, Fright Night is a great funhouse ride for smart audiences, recommended particularly for those of us who don’t wish to be too scared or grossed out.

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Consensus: With some wickedly funny humour to offset the genuinely suspenseful and scary scenes, director Craig Gillespie’s bitingly sharp remake of Fright Night delivers a good sense of summer fun and is carried by excellent performances from a stellar cast that includes a smoothly creepy turn by Colin Farrell.  *** (Out of 4)

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