Farrell’s Vampire is Memorable

Movie Review: Fright Night (2011)
Summary: A teenager suspects that his new neighbor is a vampire.
Spoilers: none

A teenager suspects that his new neighbor is a vampire in the 2011 remake of the 1985 horror classic, Fright Night.

“Charley Brewster” (Anton Yelchin) was once best friends with “Ed” (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), but when Charley’s social status puts him ahead in the ranks at school, he has drifted apart from his old “geek” comrade to his new girlfriend, “Amy.” (Imogen Poots)

Relentlessly trying not to let his old best friend go, Ed is convinced that Charley’s new neighbor, “Jerry” (Colin Farrell) is a vampire and tries to get Charley to see things his way. After initially brushing him off and refusing to look at the evidence, Charley comes to find Ed missing and soon learns that his old pal was right.

The angst of learning that you live next door to a supernatural predator must be the hardest part, but there’s also being careful not to invite them into your home and not let them find you alone outside of the house—while also not letting everyone else around you think you’re crazy. Charley’s stressful task becomes all the more difficult when Charley’s mother, “Jane Brewster” (Toni Collette) teases at getting to know Jerry a little better.

In desperation, Charley turns to a popular gothic magician and folklorist, “Peter Vincent” (David Tennant) who is supposed to be an expert on the subject of vampires, but it’s only a matter of time before Jerry goes after Charley and his family first.

It isn’t often that a remake does things actually better than the original film, but here, we have one such an occasion. Farrell plays a superb vampire, right down to the young, Italian-like facial features and the distant, predatory stare in his eyes. The dialog is at times daring and in some ways reminiscent of the generation from which the original film arose.

I was likewise impressed with character build-up and a script that was careful only to introduce those elements in a sequence that advance the shock value of the story—this is until we get past the halfway point through the end of the film.

It is at this point that the plot’s pacing speeds up to a rather rushed level. From here, what we get tends to be the standard vampire fare of bizarre facial contortions, gratuitous use of special affects, over-employed vampire folklore, and a plot that stretches the limits of its own credibility in action hunt-down sequences that nearly dash the credibility of what was accomplished in its promising beginning.

2 ½ stars for the impressive, but still mildly unsatisfying, Fright Night.

Grade: C+ (2 ½ stars)
Rated: R (for strong, bloody violence and language and some sexual references)
Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: “Charley Brewster” (Anton Yelchin), “Jerry” (Colin Farrell), “Jane Brewster” (Toni Collette), “Peter Vincent” (David Tennant), “Amy” (Imogen Poots), “Ed” (Christopher Mintz-Plasse)
Genre: Comedy / Horror