Is there such a thing as a successful remake anymore? After seeing Fright Night the answer is (surprisingly) a resounding “Yes.” Craig Gillespie’s shiny reimagining of the 1985 kitsch classic is very much its own movie but like any good spawn it doesn’t forget where it came from.
The film’s plot is not born of a novel concept. Las Vegas teenager Charlie (Anton Yelchin) is doing just fine. He managed to shake his nerd image he’s got a hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots) and he even puts the de facto cool kids to shame on occasion. Life’s pretty great until he meets the neighbor: Jerry (Colin Farrell). People are disappearing and Charlie’s old friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has a theory: Jerry’s a vampire. Armed with only the vampirical evidence doled out by Criss Angel reincarnate Peter Vincent (David Tennant) Charlie is forced to defend himself his mother (Toni Collette) and his girlfriend from the silver pointy clutches of Jerry the vampire’s endless blood-lust. And a suspenseful hilarious time ensues.
Fright Night is successful in large part because it keeps things simple. Charlie: good. Jerry: 16 shades of blood-curdling evil. Game set match. It’s scary and gory with a dash of humor – essentially a good old-fashioned senseless horror flick with a glossy big-budget cover. It’s cleverly self-aware and expends great effort to lend a sense of quality to something that promises to be nothing more than a bloody slasher flick. But the bottom line is that it works.
And the cast is big part of that. Farrell’s bloodsucker is the antidote our Twilight-riddled generation so desperately needs; this is what vampires are supposed to be. His twitchy growling yet somehow seductive vampire successfully strikes a precarious balance along the sexy-scary line and while the role doesn’t demand a great deal of Farrell's talent he’s fully committed to his psychotic relentlessly violent character and the result is deliciously despicable.
As for our band of plucky good guys Yelchin is perfectly adequate as our hero. He’s likeable he’s trustworthy and he holds his own amongst onscreen presences that threaten to drown him – Mintz-Plasse Farrell and Tennant are tough acts to outshine. Collette is generally wasted – anyone could play her part but she does what she can with the material she’s dealt. Poots really shines here; it’s almost surprising that she’s able to bring such much power to the typical girlfriend role but she manages to make her character more than just a love interest. But of course the one man who stands above the entire cast is Tennant who’s all but eliminated from the trailers for the film. The former Doctor Who star jumps into the mainstream as Peter Vincent Las Vegas performer and vampire expert extraordinaire and every minute he’s onscreen is comedy gold. His timing delivery stature and expressions are all pitch perfect. His performance alone is worth giving Fright Night two hours of your time.
Of course Gillespie makes some very stark choices with the film. The dark scenes are almost too dark; it takes a few scenes to adjust to the lighting much like being suddenly shut in a dark room. And while it’s probably not great for anyone’s ocular health it really heightens the element of fear. Then there’s the element of 3-D which is thoroughly used throughout. At first it borders on schlocky but when the vampy action gets going everything from blood to holy water to fire comes bursting out of the screen and lends an enjoyable but decidedly B-movie flair to the whole ordeal.
While the story wheels out of control leans heavily on ridiculously convenient solutions and generally has only two goals – fear and bloodshed – the film itself is so much fun that those elements don’t really matter. If you’re looking for something to stimulate your intellect run like hell from this movie but if you want two hours of unadulterated messy creepy fun look no further than Fright Night.
The Casting Gods were in a good mood yesterday, and so today we bring you this news: David Tennant of BBC's Doctor Who (and Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse of Superbad (and, most recently, Kick-Ass) have joined Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the 2009 Star Trek reboot and the titular star of Charlie Bartlett) and Colin Farrell (you know Colin Farrell) in DreamWorks' upcoming remake of the 1985 cult classic Fright Night.
For those who haven't seen the original, directed by Tom Holland (whose company Dead Rabbit Films will be releasing the remake), the new Fright Night will follow Charley (Yelchin), a teen who becomes convinced that his new new neighbor (Farrell) is a vampire. When his friends begin disappearing, Charley turns to his childhood hero Peter Vincent (Tennant), a 'Mindfreak'-like television magician with a history of hunting Vampires, for help. But Charley and his celebrity magician-mentor will also have to contend with Charley's nerdy best friend "Evil" Ed (Mintz-Plasse), who is the first to suspect that there's a vampire in the neighborhood (Charley says he's been watching too much Twilight), and who ultimately decides to join forces with vampire-Farrell.
Honestly, I don't think this casting could be any more perfect for turning Fright Night into a 21st century cult hit; just the thought of McLovin' and Colin Farrell tramping around suburbia, preying on their neighbors and building a coven of vampires sounds like cinema gold. The original Fright Night was a delightful melange of campy and horror, and with the hilarious Mintz-Plasse-Farrell vampire pairing, we can probably look forward to a Shaun of the Dead-inspired tone for the remake. The Yelchin-Tennant team should also be good fun, as fans of Tennant's Doctor Who or Yelchin's superb acting in Charlie Bartlett and Alpha Dog should be aware. The role of Charley's girlfriend Amy has yet to be filled, but if the other casting decisions are any indication, I think we can expect another great actor to join this already terrifically quirky ensemble.
Michael De Luca and Alison R. Rosenzweig are set to produce Fright Night with a script from Marti Noxon and Craig Gillespie directing. Lloyd Ivan Miller, Michael Gaeta and Josh Bratman are executive producing the remake, to be released some time in 2011.
Source: Heat Vision Blog
The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision Blog states that Anton Yelchin will star in the Craig Gillespie directed Fright Night remake which is being produced by DreamWorks. His role, that of Charley Brewster, was originated by William Ragsdale.
Given that the film was well received during its initial release in 1985 and still holds up today, screenwriter Marti Noxon hasn't strayed far from the plot or tone of the original horror comedy, which focused on a teen who's convinced that his new neighbor is a vampire, although no one will believe him.
It's another positive career move for Yelchin, who is building a sizable fan base within genre loving audiences. After appearing in 2009's Star Trek and Terminator Salvation, Fright Night will fit nicely into his impressive if short resume.
Michael De Luca is producing the film along with Alison R. Rosenzweig.