Charlie Brewster is coming into his own, with a cool mom and hot girlfriend, things couldn’t be better. That is until his childhood buddy tries to make him believe his new neighbour Jerry is a vampire. But when a couple of his friends go missing, curiosity gets the better of him and Charlie starts taking a closer look into Jerry’s business. When the truth finally sinks in, Charlie tries to enlist the aid of Las Vegas showman Peter Vincent, an expert on vampires and the occult.
So here goes part two of my remake weekend, starring FRIGHT NIGHT (WARNING: this review will contain mild spoilers as I’ll be comparing both the original and the new film). The one thing I didn’t mention in my Conan review about remakes is how I personally place them on the hierarchy wheel. Make no mistake, I don’t feel any film out there is in dire need of a remake, but in the event of Conan and for example THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, I found myself nodding with approval. Films like FRIGHT NIGHT and say, THE CROW however, could’ve easily been left alone. Tom Holland’s original FRIGHT NIGHT is still my favourite vampire flick of all time (LOST BOYS only lost the race by a hair), and though morbidly curious, I wasn’t a huge fan of this idea. So how’d it fare? Better than the original? No, but it was still a pretty good time.
Naturally I have some reservations, but these stem from the insane amount of love I have for the source material, a flick I could narrate to you in its entirety down to each individual’s facial expressions, so these reservations are simply observations as I dance you through the similarities, highs and lows. First we have Colin Farrell who played a fantastic Jerry Dandrige. Of course oddly enough, Jerry’s last name isn’t mentioned once during the film, nor is listed in the credits (I loved the way the boys made fun of the name Jerry though, calling it a lame vampire name). I liked Ferrell’s angle, his dialogue and all his mannerisms but I couldn’t help but feel that he and Charlie didn’t get as much one on one time as they did in the original which is too bad because setting up your nemesis is key.
Anton Yelchin was alright as Charlie Brewster, I certainly admired his spunk but I’m torn when it comes to his and Evil Ed’s friendship here. I dig Christopher Mintz-Plasse and I didn’t mind him as Ed per say, but the whole turn of events between him, Jerry and Charlie felt very rushed to me. I mean dang people, he’s turned in like the first ten minutes or so whereas it doesn’t happen till nearly the end in the original. As a matter a fact, the whole film feels a bit rushed and I don’t mean time-wise. I’ve always found this hard to explain to the letter but you’ll understand if you’ve noticed the same thing. In many older films (like say in this case some of my favourites, FRIGHT NIGHT, STAND BY ME and LOST BOYS) it feels as though a lot of time passes in the film as you watch it. These days however, films all take place like an episode of 24, you blink and it’s said and done. I’m not sure if this technique is intentional or merely a fluke, but when you tell a story it should be told with finesse and in a sober frame of mind, rather than a rambling series of drunken cliff notes. Sure, either way you’ll get this gist of it, but I probably don’t need to elaborate on which method is more entertaining.
FRIGHT NIGHT is a decent attempt to revamp a spooky old monster tale, even if it is one that a lot of people haven’t heard of (sigh, yes it pains me to admit that). I liked the new twist on the story don’t get me wrong, they had some fun with it and I dug it, but it did feel rushed and as a result I felt a little disconnected from the characters. The real shame is that these characters were richly written in the original and due to the amount of extra screen time they shared together, the stakes felt higher and chemistry between them actually moved you because you saw how much they had invested in one another’s plight. David Tennant’s incarnation of Peter Vincent and Fright Night were well done and I loved all the subtle details like studying of the occult, the weapons and Vegas Stage show, but again, you blink and it’s all gone. He and Charlie never click like they do in the original and the tie he has to Jerry is weak, it isn’t terrible just weak. FRIGHT NIGHT isn’t doing too hot in theatres right now but I’m sure the numbers will be decent after it’s run its course and tears out the DVD and Blu-ray market’s jugular. Will we see a sequel? Probably not, but hey, who knows right? Anything can happen in Vegas. One thing I do know is that if you’re a fan of the original, this ride is worth watching if for no other reason than to see a special cameo appearance that put a big smile on my face.