Fright Night (2011)

Director: Craig Gillespie (2011)
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant
Find it: IMDB

All-American teenager and sometime Chekov Charley Brewster (Yelchin) discovers that he might be living next door to a vampire. And not just any vampire. Colin Farrell in full Bullseye mode, making eyes at his mom. He seeks the help of useless TV personality Peter Vincent (Tennant) and together they set about taking down the beautiful bloodsucking bastard.

As a remake of one of my favourite 80s horror movies, I approached Fright Night with some hesitation. I was hopeful - the cast was intriguing (Chekov! Bullseye! McLovin! Doctor Who!), the story ripe for re-visitation. Thankfully, it lives up to the promise. Any urge to go Twilight with its vampires has been resisted. Colin Farrell is sexy; but it's scary sexy as opposed to sparkly sexy. Well, as scary as one can be whilst wearing a wifebeater vest and gurning at every opportunity. Yelchin makes for a good Charley. He's less goofy than the 80s' William Ragsdale, but is a likeable protagonist, playing it relatively straight whilst all around him chew the scenery. David Tennant's Peter Vincent is less Peter Cushing and more Russell Brand. The constant overacting will annoy some, but I thought it was enjoyable. And as a fan of Doctor Who, I found it endlessly hilarious to see the most cuddly Doctor dropping F-bombs and calling people "douchebag".

The action, too, has been upped considerably. There's a great sequence in which Colin Farrell explodes a house and throws a motorbike at a car. It has a lot less time for Charley's paranoia than the original film. But who needs slowly building tension when you can have Colin Farrell throwing a motorbike at a car? There's a great fight scene between Evil Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and Charley, and the re-do of the nightclub scene really works. And there's a part of me that's always wanted to see Colin Farrell and David Tennant duke it out. That fight scene is something of a letdown, as is the finale as a whole. Farrell throws a pebble at David Tennant's head, and that's it. At least it brings the film's funniest line, though.

Where 80s Peter Vincent was a cowardly type, Tennant is more of a selfish arse. His helping Charley actually feels disingenuous. There's also a personal connection to Jerry and Vincent that has been added which seems pointless and tacked on. The CGI gore too, is a distraction. But as a whole, Fright Night overcomes its flaws enough to be a very entertaining ride. Well, Colin Farrell does throw a motorbike at a car.

Fright Night is not as good as its predecessor, although it is still a lot of fun in its own right. After all, Colin Farrell throws a motorbike at a car.


  1. Fair review. I thought this was okay. I'm not much of a fan of the original, so the remake thing didn't give me pause. I do have to question why Charlie need to use Google to look up Peter Vincent for vamp killing advice when he could have just used Google itself for vamp killing advice, but I guess I'm not supposed to ask questions like that or we would have a much shorter film on our hands.

  2. I'm one of the idiots who hates this movie with a passion, mainly because it's nowhere near as awesome as Part 1 & 2.

  3. @Lee - Ha, very good point. I thought Ed telling Charley to look up Vincent was kind of a lazy way to introduce the character too, as though they couldn't think of another way to get him into the story. Cheers!

    @Maynard - Ha, yeah, I do love Fright Night. I find it pretty easy to disconnect remakes from their originals though; just viewing it as its own thing. Part 1 & 2 are a lot better though, agreed. Cheers!