Fright Night (2011) (Blu-ray)
On paper, there’s not much to like about the 2011 version of FRIGHT NIGHT. For starters, it’s a remake of a cheesy 80’s movie that, although loved by a few, wasn’t that great to begin with. Then there’s the giant problem of yet another take on vampires, which have been so overdone in the past two years that their very presence alone in a film is enough to repulse any moviegoer. But something strange happened on my way to hating this film; I actually enjoyed it.
The story is pretty cut and dry, focusing on Charley’s (Anton Yelchin) realization that his next door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell) is actually a vampire. The straight forward story serves the film well and although they touch on deeper themes (Charley’s attempts to be “cool”, dealing with the progressing sexual relationship with his girlfriend and the idea of protecting his family), the story never strays too far from the idea of Charley vs. Jerry. I could have done without the drama between Charley and his former best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), but Ed’s purpose was to reveal Jerry as a vampire and for that, his character was efficient.
I liked that director Craig Gillespie avoided a shot for shot remake and instead, really just took the idea of the original and updated it. This film isn’t funny and while some might use that as a knock against it, I found that refreshing. I found myself genuine thinking about what I would do if I were confronted with a real life encounter with a creature that we now believe to be mythical. I thought Gillespie could have went further with that, by having Charley fight the public skepticism more, but when they did touch on the idea, it worked well. Screenwriter Marti Noxon also did well by having Jerry be a “legit” vampire. And when I say that, I mean he was an evil monster, not a brooding, love-struck pansy that you would see in more watered down novels.
Credit also has to be given to Collin Farrell, who I’m sure was tempted to turn Jerry into a creepy, seductive vampire or even a hardcore, merciless murderer, but Farrell kept Jerry in check, portraying him with just enough charm that the audience was intrigued. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Anton Yelchin, but he managed to be watchable as the hero Charley and I found myself enjoying him in the lead role. The supporting cast filled out nicely with good performances from David Tennant as the vampire expert and from Toni Collette as Charley’s mom.
Although it’s easy to pass the 2011 remake FRIGHT NIGHT off as another lame Hollywood remake, featuring vampires no less, this film is actually one worth checking out. The pace moves quick enough to keep the audience interested and once Jerry officially turns on Charley, the intensity is ratcheted up a notch and it becomes a fun thrill ride. I’m sure you’re as sick of vampires as I am, but don’t let their misuse in film dissuade you from checking this out.
Video: At first, it might seem like this is a lesser transfer than most newer titles, but keep in mind that virtually the entire film is shown at dusk, which is a hard lighting to film in. When explored deeper, it’s clear that the black levels are pristine and the seldom uses of color are done wonderfully.
Audio: The audio was wonderful as well.
Peter Vincent: Come Swim in My Mind (2:09): This is a bit featuring Peter Vincent (played by David Tennant) as he gives us a brief overview of his stage show in Vegas called Fright Night.
The Official “How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie” Guide (8:04): This is your required making-of featurette that covers the story, vampire mythology, special effects and more.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (4:51): Five scenes that added nothing to the story, but you may enjoy if you are a fan of the film.
Squid Man: Extended and Uncut (2:56): This is the entire sequence of the backyard movie shot by the young men in the film.
Music Video (5:21) “No One Believes Me” by Kid Cudi