Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welcome to Fright Night... For Real

There was a time back in the day when horror movies were fun to watch. They didn't take themselves too seriously, but they weren't complete spoof movies either. Then came movies like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Friday the 13th which proved that horror movies can be a serious money making  genre for Hollywood, and a good portion of the fun left the genre. Like the original, Fright Night is a fun movie.

The storyline isn't really original. A teenage boy, Charlie (played by Anton Yelchin), finds out that his next door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell) is actually a vampire. Predictably, no one believes him, so he goes to the nearest vampire expert Peter Vincent (played by David Tennant) to help him kill Jerry. Honestly, it sounds like the plot of practically every vampire movie before Blade. But Fright Night differs in how it treats the concept of it's story line.

For example, it's a trope of modern day vampire lore for vampires to have exotic sounding names or old world versions of common ones, which is played with by naming the vampire Jerry. And then have the characters in the film riff on that. And there are plenty of other clever little tricks thrown in to give the overloaded vampire movie genre a fresh cleansing breath of laughter. I would say that the closest I've seen to this style of writing comes from Buffy The Vampire Slayer (the tv show), but that's not really a surprise since the main writer of this movie, Marti Noxon actually wrote for that show. Obviously the script for this version covered a great many of the plot holes of the original as well as updated the story for modern times. It also added more dimension and depth to the characters, giving the cast more to sink their teeth into, so to speak.

Speaking of the cast, the casting was also phenomenal. For me, most movies starring Colin Farrell tend to be hit or miss depending on whether or not the director chooses to let Farrell act or just focus on his movie star looks. With Fright Night, there really wasn't a chance for a miss since either approach, given the tone of the film, would just enhance the performance. Anton Yelchin is perfectly cast as Charlie, since he seems to specialize in being able to display courage, fear, sincerity and intelligence all at once. My favorite role of his is still the young Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation, but Fright Night is a close second. But the real surprise for me was how much I loved David Tennant (formerly the 10th Doctor Who) as Peter Vincent. This Criss Angel clone version of Peter Vincent really played to Tennant's major strength as an actor which is the constant switching from semi-serious to completely outrageous and back. I do have to admit, it was awesome seeing Tennant again.

Overall, I can't say that this movie will be winning any Oscars, or even MTV Movie awards. This isn't an award type of movie. I would this more as a modern day cult classic along the lines of Army of Darkness. So, if you're looking for a cool flick to pass a couple of hours with, I would DEFINITELY recommend Fright Night. Oh and if you go see it, keep an eye out for a couple of cameo appearances, one by Lisa Loeb and the other... I'll leave as a surprise.

Oh, and to end this particular review, I'll leave you with my favorite song off the Fright Night 2011 soundtrack, Hugo's cover of 99 Problems! Enjoy!

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