Director Craig Gillespie revamps the camp suburban horror originally found in the 1985 original cult favourite Fright Night with some assistance from Colin Farrell’s free wheeling predator next door and David Tennant’s sham vampire hunter.
Director: Craig Gillespie
Writers: Marti Noxon and Tom Holland
Principal cast: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, Toni Collette and David Tennant
Release date: 2nd September 2011 (on general release).
After the mysterious disappearance of his childhood friend, suburban slacker Charley Brewster (Yelchin) becomes convinced that his new neighbour Jerry (Farrell) is not only responsible for the teenager’s death but is also a vampire settled amidst the plush outskirts of Las Vegas.
As Charley’s amateur detective work unveils the dark truth to Jerry’s nocturnal activities, the new neighbour starts to gradually unveil an unhinged and unholy side to his nature as his need for human blood and young women leads to a spree of local killings.
With the vampire now focused not only on Charley’s single mom (Collette) but also his high school girlfriend (Poots), the student travels to Las Vegas to seek out and recruit the notoriously glitzy showman, occultist and vampire slayer, Peter Vincent (David Tennant).
The recent trend for remaking the horror favourites of yesteryear continue as director Craig Gillespie delivers a re-imaging of the cult classic which eschews the potential to update the eighties infused original (perhaps with a subtext on modern paranoia and the dangers of casual sex) in favour of focusing solely on the one thing that will most certainly sell tickets at box office, namely good old fashioned and albeit rather camp horror.
Does Fright Night 2011 deliver the bite (excuse the pun) needed to match it’s esteemed predecessor?
If the teenagers out looking for kicks play to the standard stereotype with Yelchin, although likeable, looking a tad to old to be portraying a school kid and Poots simply portraying the damsel in distress, the film is without doubt brought to life by Farrell's new vamp on the block.
The actor brings a delinquently deranged, creepy and sinister edge to the vampire and the character’s loose and cocky attitude to all things connected to blood, women and beer seemingly makes Jerry the James Dean or Marlon Brando of the vampire world whilst firmly centering the entire romp.
Strangely enough, some may even say that the actor was born to play the part.
David Tennant’s wonderfully named occultist Peter Vincent initially comes across as a mockney take on Russell Brand and although initially feeling rather flat in performance the character gradually comes to life as the film progresses to a climatic showdown in the basement turned den of Jerry’s house.
Whilst the eerily shot night time scenes contrast nicely against the brightly light sunshine of each successive morning, one may question why no one seems to investigate the continued disappearance of their local neighbours as school registers remain unanswered in the classroom.
But even the occasional plot hole and a final act that falls into familiar horror territory may be forgiven as the movie accomplishes what it set out to be, merely an enjoyable and straight forward ghoulish shocker with an underlying dose of black humour.
Good for a Saturday night.
Daft and instantly forgettable, the new incarnation of Fright Night is a standard vampire movie lit up by a wonderfully deviant performance by Farrell as the neighbourly predator.