Saturday, October 01, 2011

Fright Night

Enjoying The Fragrance First

It's probably an understatement that Hollywood is fast running out of ideas with its glut of costumed heroes making the leap from comic books to the silver screen, and slew of remakes and reboots that are happening in assembly line fashion. When I first heard that Fright Night, one of the very few horror films that I had dared to watch and enjoy tremendously, was going to be given a makeover, my initial reaction was there goes another childhood memory which will get butchered badly. But my fears were quite unfounded, as this update actually turned out to be rather enjoyable.

There were specific moments in the original film that had stuck in my mind, such as how the vampire mocks the protagonist who had stuck a crucifix in his face, and being rebuked that it doesn't work if one doesn't have faith. Moments that were as classic as this one got incorporated into the film in a slightly different scenario, which made it a pleasant easter egg each time fans get to spot something the survived the remake.

Directed by Craig Gillespie whose pedigree is as varied as Lars and the Real Girl and Mr Woodcock, Fright Night started off quite wobbly when it tried to establish its characters, jumping directly into the fray with Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) being too cool for his geeky best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse in a stereotypical role) who suspects that Charley's new neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) is actually a vampire responsible for the many mysterious disappearances and deaths of their satellite town. Added into the female quotient for any vampire film, because sinking one's fangs into a long female neck is always deemed as sexy, are Toni Collette as Charley's mom who develops a crush on Jerry, as well as Imogen Poots who plays Charley's hot girlfriend Amy.

It's the excellent visual effects that made this version of Fright Night work, while balancing a fairly engaging story with a light dose of comedy that made this a walk down memory lane of many past horror comedies that entertained without being too campy or silly. You can just about tell the deliberate attempts at 3D as well which centered mostly around blood splattering on screen, and for those donning the 3D glasses, blood splattering toward you by the bucketloads. And let's not forget its technical strengths as well, where a scene that will jump out and scream for your attention revolves literally around a car interior in one continuous, lengthy shot that serves as the highlight of the film for its intensity.

David Tennant may add some unintentional comedic flair to his vampire slayer Peter Vincent character, but it is clearly the nemesis played by Colin Farrell which took the cake and stole everyone's thunder for his cool as cat portrayal of the undead. While the film became sort of an instructional manual on how to get rid of one in the final act, relying upon a number of artifacts both common and uncommon, Farrell plays the vampire with that perfect twinkle in the eye, with the screenplay by Marti Noxon kept close to classic vampire lore, such as the need to get invited to a home before a vampire can enter, steering clear of the recent Twilight nonsensical re-inventiveness of bloodsuckers who can survive in daylight, broods a lot and would rather start a family than to maintain an advantageous swinging single status. And that my friends, is what makes vampire films appealing, not metrosexual pretty boys with emotional issues.

At its core the story's about a guy who has to once again turn toward and recognize his inner geekdom despite desperate and fairly successful attempts to have steered away from it, but ultimately has to look inward for strength to accomplish what would be impossible without a wealth of knowledge. Revenge of the nerd this is, and an entertaining, funny romp this updated Fright Night had turned out to be. Recommended!

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