{2jtab: Movie Review}

Fright Night

3 stars

The Eighties provided us with a very fertile era of genre product. Adventure, Action, Science Fiction, and Horror alike—it was just a magic time when a slew of very talented filmmakers gave us a glut of movies that were destined to be classics. There must have been something in the water! 1985 saw Tom Holland, best known for bravely following up with the sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, win over the world with his quirky and exhilarating vampire tale, Fright Night. Following from the likes of Spielberg, and in print Stephen King, Holland wrote a classic vampire tale that transported horror to the unassuming suburbs. It was just a great blending of humour, wit, and horror, so popular that it spawned a sequel four years later.

The early part of this century is not blessed with a new era of creativity, and any halfway decent film from the Eighties, especially in the horror genre, is ripe for the RE-making-booting-doing. Those wondrously creative people are still with us, and still working for the most part, but this is a very different Hollywood than back then. Holland returned to write, along with Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Marti Noxon, the remake era’s version of his beloved Fright Night. Surely, with the original writer on board, this would have a chance of being something better than a cash-in?

Now set in Las Vegas, 2011’s Fright Night once again tells the story of Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin), a high school kid living his fairly normal existence with his single mother (Toni Collette) and hot new girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots). On the out, now Charlie has lost his zits and become cool, is Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Charlie’s former best friend, who seems to think a vampire is wiping out folk in the neighbourhood. When Ed goes missing, too, Charlie begins to suspect his new next door neighbour, Jerry Dandridge (Colin Farrell). As Charlie digs deeper, his world unravels and everything he cares about is placed in danger. He seeks help from Peter Vincent to right the wrongs, save the girl, and destroy the evil upon them.

Sound familiar? Yep, it is. The setting is new; there has been some interesting thought placed into the location (Vegas being a perfect hunting ground for a vampire, etc.); the performers are all top notch; the character of Peter Vincent has been reworked into a Chris Angel type of performer, instead of an over-the-hill TV host; the writing is solid and current and relatable; it’s a solid story and a good watch. But it’s no bloody different! This incessant viewpoint from the people who produce these remakes that a change of veneer somehow a new product makes is infuriating! This is Fright Night redone with nothing truly of merit added. It’s good because it’s really bloody close to original, but, apart from fiduciary motives, what is the point? Blu-ray can—and does—make old movies look stunning if they’re restored properly ‘for a new audience’, so rehashing what was done oh so right the first time with shiny new sets and actors benefits an audience, new or loyal, ZERO!

Colin Farrell is a great Jerry Dandridge; he’s handsome, has an air of danger about him with every word he utters. He’s a good vampire! Anton Yelchin’s Charlie—self-acknowledged—is a bit of a dick, to be honest. He comes good, of course, but he’s not particularly likeable, and nowhere near as effective a protagonist as William Ragsdale’s incarnation. Imogen Poots is beautiful, but the role is rather thankless. Mintz-Plasse’s Ed is probably the character more fleshed out than his predecessor, but he doesn’t have any menace about him at all; Ed in the original, such an unassuming boy, got a couple of truly unnerving scenes upon his turning; Mintz-Plasse’s are really played just for laughs. The most successful change is former Doctor Who, David Tennant, as Peter Vincent; his narcissism and cowardice, played against this showman type, work very well. There is a cameo appearance from one of the original cast members that left me cold.

The film looks great; the 3D is also effective for the most part, although skirts very close at times to being merely a gimmick. Missing is that great score by Brad Feidel. In fact, missing entirely is the answer to the question: Apart from money, what was the point?

{2jtab: Film Details}

Fright NightMPAA Rating: for bloody horror violence and language including some sexual references.
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writer: Marti Noxon
Anton Yelchin; Colin Ferrell; Toni Collette; David Tennant; Imogen Poots; Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Genre: Comedy | Horror
Memorable Movie Quote: "That is a terrible vampire name. Jerry?"
You can't run from evil when it lives next door.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Official Site: www.welcometofrightnight.com
Release Date: August 20, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
December 13, 2011

Plot Synopsis: Teenager Charley Brewster (Yelchin) guesses that his new neighbor Jerry Dandrige (Farrell) is a vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths. When no one he knows believes him, he enlists Peter Vincent (Tennant), the opportunistic host of his favorite TV show, to help him take down Jerry and his guardian.

{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Review}

Fright Night - Blu-ray

Component Grades
Blu-ray Disc
3 stars
2 stars
Blu-ray Experience
2.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 13, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Playback: Region Free

Terrific MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer. Pretty sure this film was shot digitally. It has a flawless looking picture, no matter the time of day. Deep and detailed blacks at night, skin tones are all natural and textured, day shots are a revelation—a very handsome transfer. The DTS-HD 7.1 audio is pretty much as good as it gets: from start to finish, it’s an immersive, detailed mix that gives your system a hefty workout. Special features are, in a word, SHIT. Ridiculous mini-featurettes from half interested participants that add up to about 20 minutes of your life that could be spent on something else. Poor effort, Disney.



  • None

Special Features:

  • Peter Vincent: Come Swim in My Mind (2 min)
  • The Official "How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie" Guide (8 min)
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes (5 min)
  • Squid Man: Extended & Uncut (3 min)
  • Bloopers (3 min)
  • Kid Cudi Music Video (5 min)
  • DVD Copy

{2jtab: Trailer}