Now I know what you are thinking ‘oh no not another remake of a classic horror film’, well to be honest I thought that too originally. However the film isn’t simply another pointless horrible remake, it is actually good and despite some similarities it is quite a different film than Tom Hollands original. Vampires always seem to be the ‘in’ thing, and I’ll be the first to admit they have gotten rather stale over the past few years. Thankfully the people behind Fright Night realised this and made sure to give us something we’ve been missing, a straight up horror film! Sure the film features a romance, but it isn’t about a forbidden love between a human and a vampire (I am looking at you Twilight Saga, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries). It is about a nasty vampire who intends to turn the entire town, taking aim at his neighbours because one of them is on to him.
It follows the basic premise of the original, and it throws in some clever nods. But the film feels very different. It takes place in a town outside of Las Vegas, and we’re introduced to mother Jane Brewster (Toni Collette) and son Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin). Charley is in the midst of a relationship with the lovely Amy (Imogen Poots), and life seems pretty good. He gets a new neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) and something seems a little ‘off’. Charley doesn’t give it a second thought until the friend he tries to ignore Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) informs him of what he thinks is going on. Ed proves to be correct and Charley decides he needs the help of vampire expert Peter Vincent (David Tennant) to help him get rid of Jerry. The game is on for Charley, as Jerry plays the most deadliest of cat and mouse games.
If you are familiar with the original, you would have noticed some of the same plot points in my description and some of the differences. The original took its time to set things up, and left Jerry as a more mysterious character. Here they actually don’t do that, and we know what Jerry is from the get go. The ploy here is for Charley to be the one who doubts what Jerry is, and he finds out slowly through a series of events. Jerry is portrayed as a monster, one with a slick personality and it is easy to see how he blends in so well. He isn’t the brooding type, and not one after love. He wants blood and he wants his own tribe of vampires, I miss vampire stories like this. It was just so fantastic to have a central vampire character who wasn’t ‘humanised’ and he wanted blood and chaos. For those of you that watch The Vampire Diaries as I do, Jerry here was very much like the Season 1 Damon, with that no care attitude. At the same time, the human characters were normal and likeable. Charley was the high school teenager that we’ve all probably been guilty of acting like, he thinks his friend is being immature and blows him off. Once it finally hits him what is going on, he’ll risk his life to save the ones he cares about. Then we have Peter Vincent, here his character is the product of blending Criss Angel and Russell Brand. He isn’t like the Peter Vincent from the original, quite the opposite, and he makes for great comic relief.
All the actors are great, they shine in their roles. Particularly Colin Farrell and David Tennant, who both looked as if they were having a complete blast with their characters. Anton Yelchin is quite possibly the best actor in his age group, he can play any type of character and come out of it unscathed. He was a perfect Charley and I really liked him in the role. Imogen Poots and her character were a huge step up from Amanda Bearse as the character in the original. Her performance is grounded, shes a likeable girlfriend and she can act. I felt that Bearse was the weakest link in the original, and here the character was more developed so that helped Poots with her performance. The one bit of casting I was actually worried about was Christopher Mintz-Plasse, as I couldn’t picture him as Evil Ed. The character is meant to be annoying, and that is something that Plasse can do. He wasn’t the perfect choice, but he did a solid job and I was fine with it. Toni Collette is an acting goddess and she was fabulous here.
Whether you are a fan of the original or not, this is a film that should be seen. As a remake it is one of the far better ones we’ve seen, and an absolute blast to sit through. Director Craig Gillespie should be proud of what he has accomplished.