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Film Review: Fright Night

Aug 21, 2011 02:46PM ● By Wendy Sipple

This is a modern day reimagining of the original Fright Night. The premise is fairly simple: a 400-year-old vampire, Jerry, moves into a suburban neighborhood and begins feasting on the locals. Charlie, a teenager, discovers the vampire’s secret and must find a way to stop the vampire before it kills again. The story peppers in the teenage love interest and inserts Peter Vincent, a vampire hunter act on the Vegas strip, as Charlie’s mentor in hunting down the vampire. The story leads up to a showdown between Charlie and Jerry, but I will leave who wins as a mystery (although I’m sure you probably can guess).

The new Fright Night is a successful remake primarily because it really doesn’t try to be like the original film at all. Sure it uses the same premise and the names of the characters, but in terms of tone and theme they don’t resemble each other at all.
Being released during the height of the teenage slasher films, the original Fright Night was a throwback to the classic Dracula movies. It honored the classic vampire myths and legends and paid tribute to genre in many respects. The new Fright Night has little interest in honoring the classic Dracula films, after all the core audience for this film probably has little knowledge of the original Dracula films anyway. Instead it is a campy boy versus vampire film and doesn’t try to be anything more. In this case that’s a good thing.
Marti Noxon, who wrote several episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more recently was the writer on I Am Number 4, does a good job with the teenage relationships in the movie. She also changes most of the characters from the original in definite ways really leaving no way to fairly compare the two movies; this was a very smart move.
The Jerry from the original film charmed and seduced his victims. The Jerry in the new film uses force and fear. A character in the movie describes Jerry as the shark from Jaws. Colin Ferrell is perfect as a cocky vampire toying with his victims then attacking with vicious aggression. Ferrell looks like he’s having fun in the role, but it is curious that he makes zero attempt to keep his identity hidden.
The new version of Vincent Price, Vampire Hunter, is even more of a departure from the original. This version pokes fun at the Chris Angel type of personality. The new Vincent Price doesn’t have nearly the poignancy or heart the original character has. The new Vincent Price is nothing but a small supporting part in the story. This will certainly disappoint fans of the original film, but it makes sense in the context of the current version of the movie.
Director Craig Gillespie keeps the pacing of the film even placing the action at the right moments but I must admit I expected more comedy in the film based on his career directing comedies. There is a definite campiness to the film with the cheesy exploding vampire effects, excess CGI blood squirting, and the way the vampire mouths change before biting. It is even more noticeable in 3D where certain shots are specifically framed for the “3D” in your face effect.
People that love  “campy” horror films will have fun with this movie. The drama is handled well and is a welcome departure from the “Twilight” style of vampire films. The filmmakers smartly steered clear of making an exact remake of the original film and instead gave the film its own identity. The original is a much better movie, but the new Fright Night can stand on its own. It’s light fun for horror fans but this modern day version will not develop the cult following of the original.
Films like Fright Night --- Fright Night, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lost Boys   

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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