Friday, August 19, 2011

Review - 'Fright Night' - B+

I have ALWAYS been a pretty firm believer in the philosophy of Good 'Classic' Hollywood film = no remake, Bad Hollywood film = Redo or burn it.  I hate to say it, but this remake is as good, if not a bit better, than the original.  I swear I am not saying that because David Tennant, one of my favourite actors, is in it.  However, it certainly helped...

If you don't know the basics, High School senior Charlie Brewster, Anton Yelchin ('Star Trek' and 'The Smurfs') is newly popular with the hot girlfriend and a former geek friend who wholeheartedly believes that Charlie's new neighbour is a vampire named Jerry, played by Colin Farrell.  "That is a terrible vampire name. Jerry?"  This is the Colin Farrell we all hope for when we see his name in the credits, cool and menacing.

'Fright Night' could have easily followed the recent spate of modern remakes and dumped personality for tits, gloss and a Gossip Girl mentality.  This film has a secret weapon that I didn't realize until I saw the credits - it was written by Marti Noxon, the brilliant former writer of 'Angel' and 'Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.'  The woman knows a bit about the vampire genre and she has fun with it.

I will say that it is a bit slow at the beginning, but once Charlie catches up with the audience, the roller coaster begins.  The co-stars are superior and are extremely well cast.  Toni Collette as Charlie's mum is smart and modern.  There were also a couple of break out siblings in the film, Dave Franco, brother of James, and Sandra Vergara, Sophia's sister, stand out in a strong ensemble.

As with the original, the Yoda in Charlie's new vampire slaying lifestyle is Peter Vincent, played with gusto (a word not used enough) by David Tennant.  He enters each scene as if he owns them, and we willing give it to him.  He has fun with the part and we have a blast watching.  Kudos, dear Doctor!

In total, 'Fright Night' is clever, packed with charm and walks the hard line between comedy and horror like it taught the class.  Hollywood, pay attention...this is how you make a remake!

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