Director: Craig Gillespie
Writers: Marti Noxon (screenplay), Tom Holland (story), and 1 more credit
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell and David Tennant
Motion Picture Rating: R
Runtime: 106 minutes
I did not see the original, but apparently this is a straight remake of that 1985 film. Back then it was a contemporary of Gremlins and Ghostbusters in the niche that is ‘comedy horror’. Later examples included House and The Lost Boys with all such films mashing up traditional scary stories with smart modern dialogue. Comedy horror remains a niche with unfortunately more misses than hits and Fright Night retains that slightly awkward feel to it.
In this remake it is Colin Farrell that plays creepy Jerry who moves into a desert bound suburb of Las Vegas and almost immediately puts his teenage neighbour Charley (Anton Yelchin) on edge. Encouraged by his geeky friend Ed (Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Charley starts to believe that Jerry is indeed a vampire. And when other neighbours start disappearing, Charley seeks help from acclaimed TV vampire hunter Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall upgraded to David Tennant).
Fright Night 2011 works well in Farrell’s seriously sociopathic performance and in the isolated and other worldly nature of the Vegas suburb setting. There are some decent lines including a nice anti Twilight joke and it is scary at times. However, the jumps back and forth between farce and fright combined with all of the high school angst (think Buffy meets Clueless) make a less than perfect cocktail. Watching David Tennant channel Russell Brand early on is amusing, but even that joke runs a little dry by the end. Not bad, but not great.