Lately Hollywood has been obsessed with remakes of classic films, churning them out at an alarming rate. Many assumed Fright Night, a remake of a 1985 horror film, would be just another unnecessary remake, but it actually is a cleverly done horror film that improves upon the original and successfully straddles the line between comedy and horror.
Directed by Craig Gillespie, Fright Night stars Anton Yelchin as Charlie, a reformed nerd who has somehow captured the heart of resident cool-girl Amy, played by Imogen Poots. As a result of his new and improved social status, Charlie no longer has any time for his nerdy childhood friends, including his former best friend Ed, played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse from Superbad.
Ed starts bugging Charlie about how one of their friends has been missing school and he thinks something bad might have happened. Charlie reluctantly agrees to investigate with Ed who believes his new neighbor Jerry, played by Colin Farrell, is a vampire. He has been spying on Jerry for some time now, and that is the reason he believes their missing friend was targeted by Jerry. Charlie is skeptical at first, but after Ed himself goes missing, Charlie starts to pay more attention to his mysterious neighbor.
Of course, Jerry is in fact a vampire, and he inevitably realizes that Charlie is on to him. As a result, the second half of the film is filled with scary action sequences as he attempts to hunt Charlie down and kill his girlfriend Amy.
Charlie seeks help from Peter Vincent, played by David Tennant, a vampire expert and magician who headlines a gothic show. A self-loathing alcoholic, Peter is not willing at first to leave his comfortable apartment filled with supernatural artifacts for a real vampire, but he soon realizes he has no choice.
Yelchin does a great job as the slightly nerdy but endearing Charlie, forced by supernatural circumstances to overcome his fears and doubts in order to defeat the blood-thirsty vampires and become a man.
Colin Farrell is entrancing as the suave vampire Jerry, skillfully wooing all of the women with his hypnotic gaze. He skillfully encompasses the masculinity and bloodthirstiness of a vampire, proving that character roles are a real strength of his.
The film boasts a strong supporting cast, most notably Tennant, who really steals the show. His Peter Vincent character is a mix between Jack Sparrow and Russell Brand, and he provides a lot of the comic relief with his hilarious one-liners.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays the nerd well, and Imogen Poots does a commendable job as the out-of-league girlfriend. Toni Collette rounds out the strong supporting cast as Charlie’s single and desperate mother.
Craig Gillespie, who is best known for Lars and the Real Girl, really proves himself as a good horror director with this film. The mixture between comedy and horror is just right, with even the scariest action sequences being punctuated with moments of hilarity.
Being a vampire, he cannot enter a house unless invited, but Charlie refuses to invite him in, and the tension in that scene as Jerry tries to garner an invitation is packed with suspense.
Unlike most movies where the 3D animation seems almost an afterthought, Gillespie made use of the technology with objects flying towards the screen such as blood spatters or arrows. However, he was also careful not to overdo it, and therefore it was worth the extra money for a 3D ticket. The CGI animation used to distort the vampire faces is also skillfully done.
Overall, this film is a great movie and a highly recommended choice for the summer.