Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mini Movie Review: Fright Night (2011)

Okay, so one of the things I wanted to do with my vast (now, nearly depleted) Christmas vacation, was to catch up on some movies. I don't get out to the moving pictures much, unless my friend Stupid Monkey Planet entices me out for a brew and a view.  So, one of the 2011 movies I missed was the remake of the classic 80s horror/comedy flick, Fright Night. The original is treasured by folks of my vintage (seventies/eighties pop culture fiends), but it is not--by any stretch--award winning cinema.

Image from Wikipedia
The original Fright Night starred a pre-Herman's Head William Ragsdale, a pre-Married. . .with Children's Amanda Bearse, a pre-gay porn Stephen Geoffreys and a post-Susan Sarandon Chris Sarandon. It was as much humor as horror, and is a pastiche of the 80s. I loved it then, I loved it later, and I. . .kind of. . .like it now. It is simply a product of its era. So, quite rightly, a remake should be of its current era.

Whether it is or not is a question for a future time, and for a student of the twenty-pre-teens. As it is, I quite liked it. Anton Yelchin (2011's Star Trek's Chekov) stars in the Ragsdale role of Charley Brewster. As in the original, Brewster is the unfortunate neighbor of new home owner Jerry Dandridge (Colin Farrell), a vampire. As in the original, Brewster comes to realize Dandridge's real nature with the assistance of his nerdy friend Evil Ed. And Evil Ed gets to live up to his name this time too.

Chris Sarandon, the original sexy vampire.
The new version amps up the effects (the original's were effective the first time, but don't hold up well upon repeated viewings), and has the advantage of almost thirty years in technology. Farrell is at least as sexy as Sarandon (who appears in a cameo), but lacks the subtlety of the original. The change in venue to Las Vegas makes sense, but will not fool a near-native like me. And there is something about modern movie making that simply surpasses the art of the 1980s. But the charm of the original is lacking.

I liked 2011's Fright Night. It even made me jump at least once, matching the original. But will it rate in my lifetime top 100, to be viewed over and over as I age into oblivion? Probably not.

My rating: *** (on a scale from crap to *****, genre always kept firmly in mind)

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