Movies – Fright Night

18 Aug

If you did a survey of the top 10 1980s movies filmgoers might want to see remade in the 2010s, Fright Night would probably not be on it. Heck, it probably wouldn’t even make the top 10 of 1985, which saw the debuts of Back to the Future (part 1), Rambo (part 2), and The Breakfast Club. And those weren’t even the award winners that year.

So, when the remake of Fright Night was announced, it was not met with thunderous anticipation. Which makes that actual movie that much more of a pleasant surprise. Oh, it’s not great cinema by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s an enjoyable hour and 20 minutes.

Fright Night is the story of Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin, Star Trek), a high school student who, after years of being a geek, is finally in with the popular crowd, thanks to the fact that he’s dating Amy (Imogen Poots, 28 Weeks Later), a pretty, popular girl. This distresses his former best friend, “Evil” Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kick-Ass), who has not yet left geekdom behind, and who has incriminating video of Charlie. Grudgingly, Charlie agrees to help Ed look for another of their friends, who seems to be one of the latest of a series of people to disappear from their desert community. Ed has come to believe that Charlie’s new next-door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire, a theory at which Charlie scoffs, until Ed, too, disappears.

Fright Night doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is a large part of his charm. Yelchin is a fresh-faced, rising star, who only stands to rise in stature with the upcoming Odd Thomas (based on a popular Dean Koontz book series) and the Star Trek sequel. Poots is pretty, and Farrell charming and sinister by turns, as he attempts to get in good with Charlie’s mom (Toni Collette, doing what she can with a not-much-there part) and threaten Charlie. Mintz-Plasse is building himself a fine resume of rolls, and David Tennant (Doctor Who) is fun as a Criss Angel-style magician who Charlie turns to for help, an updating of the creature-feature host played by Roddy McDowell in the original.

There are some good special effects, and a lot of good lines, and a cameo that should delight fans of the original. The 3D was largely lost, however, due to the darkness of the movie itself (vampires, duh), so I wouldn’t spend the extra to see a 3D show.

My score:

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