Fright Night 2011

DreamWorks Pictures

“You smell that?  It’s your fear.  It’s intoxicating.  It’s a very specific scent, Charley.”

Senior Charley Brewster finally has it all.  He’s running with the cool kids and dating the hottest girl in high school.  But all hell breaks loose when charming Jerry Dandridge moves in next door.  Charley thinks there’s something odd about him, although no one – including his mom – seems to notice.  But after too many of his classmates vanish under bizarre circumstances, Charley comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on his neighborhood!

In the pantheon of remakes that have been a constant stream this past couple of decades, the Fright Night remake came as no surprise.  I understand there was the standard nerd rage that came with the announcement of a remake of the cult favorite from 1985.  Then, at its release in 2011, the reviews were less than kind, let’s just say.  Me, I had my doubts, but was actually cautiously optimistic at a modern updating of this post-modern vampire flick.  But, I wasn’t going to watch this thing in the regular first-run theater.  No, I waited until it showed up at the second-run theater, what I lovingly refer to as the El Cheepo, around the much more appropriate Halloween season that year.

And the result?  Um…I actually enjoyed the movie  This is really more of a revisioning than a straight remake, as there’s enough deviations from the source material to make this Fright Night its own entity.  Matter of fact, they could have done without naming this Fright Night, and things would have worked.  Different setting, different characterizations, different motivations…completely different movie, really, with only the character names and the movie’s title having anything in common with the original.  I would say that the best way to view this thing is to come into it as its own movie, and not try and compare it to the 1985 one too much.

So, with that thought in mind, what did I think of this Fright Night?  Well…it was entertaining.  It’s your standard Vampire Moves In Next Door, Wackiness Ensues movie, with the clear standout being Colin Farell as the vampire Jerry Dandrige, playing the role with a twinkle in his eye and a playful menace.  Really, any scene he wasn’t in was kind of boring.  Even the ones involving David Tennant as the Criss Angel clone Peter Vincent, who was interesting in the role, there.  Otherwise, everyone else seemed uninteresting, suffering from the standard “pretty white popular kids with no interesting qualities” pitfall that movies like this feature all too often.  Kill fodder and sex appeal, mostly.  You get a sense that maybe there was some studio interference, but for the most part you just wanna root for the vampire to win at the end.  Which he doesn’t.  Which is a bummer.

2011’s Fright Night is a decent way to kill off 90 minutes.  Relatively interesting, I’d say it’s worth a rental just to check out Farrell’s take on the vamp.  Otherwise, this is yet another attempt at making over an old classic for the iPhone generation – glossy, flashy, looks pretty, but overall pointless.