24 August 2011

Fright Night


Fright Night

Starring Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Tori Collette
Written by Marti Noxon
Story by Tom Holland
Directed by Craig Gillepsie
Release: 19 August 2011
DreamWorks, 106 mins., Rated R

Plot: Charley Brewster investigates his next door neighbor, Jerry, who happens to be an vampire intent on getting his killing a goin.

Take DISTURBIA but instead of a serial killer, the neighbor is a VAMPIRE serial killer. That's the basic premise. But once the premise is settled in, and it's up to Charley and his hot girlfriend to save the town from Jerry and his cunning nefariousness, they ain't so similar anymore. For one, FRIGHT NIGHT boasts this odd charm about it. Sometimes, it seems as though the scripts winking at the audience, acknowledging the vampire genre and its current marketable state (e.g., TWILIGHT, which even gets a mention!), and other times, it's as if FRIGHT NIGHT is going full on satire/overboard by spewing CG blood all over the place, a la KILL BILL. And somehow, the film balances a comedic, not-so-serious tone, with a dead serious, shit is going down vibe without one or the other contradicting or really pulling a person out of the experience.

I attribute all this to the brilliant Marti Noxon, screenwriter of this 2011 reboot, and veteran of Joss Whedon's masterpiece BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and mastermind of the short lived FOX series POINT PLEASANT (review here). Thanks to the very clever script and some great performances which clearly say, 'this script is fun, I wanna have fun, let's have some fun', FRIGHT NIGHT is lots and lots of fun.

Frankly, I didn't quite know what to expect going in. After all, never saw the original, and dunno if I want to now after seeing this (although I gather they are two entirely separate experiences). But what we have here is a horror film worth watching. There's Colin Farrell as vampire Jerry, and he can play sinister. Granted, if I was in the directors chair, there are some changes I would make to his performance, but overall, Farrel brings on the creepy and the sinister, making Jerry a frightening presence despite the name. Definitely near the end, where Jerry's patience is running thin and he just wants to rip some throats, Farrel definitely delivers the "GRRRRR!" During the scenes where he's actually trying to be charming...well, damnit, he's charming. The awesome Anton Yelchin who wowed me in CHARLIE BARTLETT, ALPHA DOG, STAR TREK, and TERMINATOR SALVATION continues to "wow." I love this guy, and you should love this guy. Perfect comic timing, and a perfect understanding of drama. Any casting director can't go wrong with this guy. And David Tennant. The Doctor in DOCTOR WHO himself, walking around in eye liner, a robe, a wig, and swearing frequently in his signature Scottish accent. Loved him. Brilliant. Hilarious. Owned the film right out of Colin Farrel's grasp.

I'll say it right now, with all the biasesies of the universe, David Tennant owns this movie. He doesn't pop up until quite a ways in, but when his Peter Vincent persona does make his debut, it's great fun. He's a drunk, he's a fake, and when he's actually confronted with real vampire shit, he pussies out and allows others to fall victim so he can live. Luckily, David Tennant being David Tennant, he didn't take the role just so he can wear eye liner and a wig: he gets his badassery on, and it's glorious when it happens.

Not like I'm over selling that, by any means. Another surprising element was there being a strong female lead present. Imogen Poots plays Charley's girlfriend but-maybe-not-really-a-girlfriend Amy,

Worth mentioning before I sign off this review, but I elected not to indulge in the 3D prices. Sorry folks, but I just ain't into that anymore. Unless something ginormous and game changing comes around. But as my 2D picture played, there were multiple instances that might benefit from 3D, and the director happily throws items at the camera to create that "Woah!" effect. So what I'm saying is that if you wanna take the 3D plunge, it just might be worth it. Not a guarantee, but at the very least, it appears as though they're trying. If you decide the 2D route, I promise you aren't missing much, and the flick works just fine as is.

In review: David Tennant was awesome as Peter Vincent. The movie is a brilliant balance of serious vampire mayhem and comedy "ha-haness". Loads of cartoony bloodshed. Faithful to vamp mythology with the exception of one 'ittle thing. TWILIGHT riff. Farrell freakiness. Yelchin greatness. Imogen hotness. Fast paced and clever. Well worth your time.

Rating: 9/10 = FRIGHT NIGHT is all about having fun at the movies. It can be genuinely creepy at times, but it relies more on jokes, cartoonish blood, and a quick pace and that's just fine with me.

1 comment:

Alan said...

I liked this version much better than the original. For sure, this was a better cast, and I like that it leaned more towards the horror-esque than the comedic.