Fright Night (2011)
Directed by: Craig Gillespie
Running time: 106 minutes.
Hey everybody, sorry that I missed posting a review last week. Had to have a damn essay finished so I ran out of time. I did however see a film, it was called The Time Traveler’s Wife and it was actually alright. There were a few things I’d change such as not making certain plot twists overly obvious and not having a central character’s death be so random; but other then that it was alright. Anyway, to make up my lack of a review last week I thought I would open this review with a rant that I believe is a long time coming. This rant is, of course, about Choc-Tops!
Seriously, fuck Choc-Tops. They are the worst kind of cinema food! Now I know you’re all saying: “but Tom, they’re chocolate coated ice cream! Even leaked naked pics of Scarlett Johansson could not top these pieces of beauty and enjoyment!” Now, I hear what you’re saying, on paper they sound great. Ice cream, check; chocolate, check. Both equally good things, but my first beef with them was how freakin’ cold they are! They must have industrial strength freezers to keep these things in because that ice cream is more ice than cream. Most of the time it just hurts the nerves under my teeth fillings! So I stopped getting the damn things. But then the dratted cinema changed all of it’s combo deals so that I could no longer buy just a large popcorn and two drinks for my girlfriend and I, oh no, now I have to get them with two choc tops thrown in as well. For more money! So I figured that I would just buy them separately and avoid the Choc-Tops, but they jacked up the prices on individual items so much that it was more financially beneficial to get the new combo and throw the Choc-Tops away! So I did, and I’ve been doing that for a while, but then I started to feel bad about wasting food so I decided to give Choc-Tops another go. Big mistake. On two separate occasions, I ate the Choc-Tops, walked out of the cinema when the movie finished and then noticed when I got home that little tiny chunks of the chocolate coating had fallen off the ice cream (unnoticed in the pitch black cinema!) and spent the last 3 hours being melted and folded into my shirt and/or jeans! AND they still hurt the nerves in my teeth! So again: fuck Choc-Tops. Fuck them and the horse they rode in on.
Anyway, back to the movies!
Now Showing this week is the film Fright Night directed by Craig Gillespie and a remake of the 1985 comedy of the same name. This remake is not a comedy however. There are humorous moments sure, but as a whole it is more a horror film. The story revolves around a senior high school student named Charley who has just been told by his geeky ex-best friend that Charley’s new neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) is a vampire. After some convincing, Charley begins to fear for his family and girlfriend’s safety and takes it upon himself to kill Jerry. To do so, he enlists the help of the Criss Angel-esque magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant).
Now I’m sure most of you are very sick of the whole vampire craze that has occurred in popular culture of late, and I tend to agree that it’s getting a bit annoying. But I shall tolerate vampire stories providing they give me something different in terms of the vampires that I haven’t seen before. My initial exposure to vampires was Buffy the Vampire Slayer and since then I have only really liked the following vampire related things: the TV show True Blood, the David Wellington vampire novels beginning with 13 Bullets, the film Daybreakers and this film Fright Night. True Blood ran with the concept of vampires’ existence only recently becoming known to the general public and the difficulties both humans and vampires face in an effort to co-exist. 13 Bullets truly showed how hardcore a vampire could be, that they were not these attractive and wise sexual deviants but instead were pale, bald, murderous psychopaths with teeth like that of a shark rather than just two pin pricks (the 13 Bullets vampires are the most original vampires I have ever encountered, check the books out, seriously!). Daybreakers built on the idea from True Blood by exploring a world where vampires are the dominant species of Earth and humans are a food source, a source that is running out. Now one could argue that Stephanie Myer’s Twilight had original vampires as well, and you would be right. Myer’s vampires are original, but I have a second part to my rule about tolerating vampires: they cannot be glittering, whiny, irrational douche-bags.
Now what I loved about Fright Night is that it, much like 13 Bullets, got rid of the appeal of being a vampire. When the vampires are in true form, they are hideous and wild carnivores. They don’t indulge in life’s pleasures with their immortality, they simply hunt and kill innocent people. Even in human form they have much paler skin and their eyes seem devoid of life, not something one would want to have for all eternity. That’s one thing that bugs me about True Blood and Twilight. If I was in the world of True Blood, I would become a vampire in a second! They’re young forever, super strong, have an alternative to human blood with the Tru-Blood drink so they can not be disgusting criminals, they can survive things such as a rocket launcher blast to the face; what’s there not to like?And in Twilight, while the vampires are the most pansy creatures in the cinema ever, there is no viable reason as to why Bella can’t just become a vampire. There is no tragedy in it; you can go out in the sun, be young and attractive (that is actually a part of their genetic make up, read the books) forever and be super human AND survive without drinking the blood of innocent people should you choose. What’s the damn problem? You see, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Buffy describes a vampire as: “my boyfriend is dead and the demon that wears his face is running around killing my friends.” In 13 Bullets the vampires are ugly, they turn to liquid skin a pile of bones when they sleep during the day and their lust for blood is so strong that even the most strong willed human will, upon turning into one, “tear you to pieces and suck blood from the chunks.” Even in Daybreakers you feel an intense repulsion to the fact that the vampires are harvesting human blood and using it in their coffee! There is a reason to not want to be a vampire in these films/books, but not in True Blood or Twlight.
Back to Fright Night, the story itself is actually rather good. For one, it never pretends that the whole “the neighbour is actually a vampire!” thing is a surprise because it isn’t. Anyone who’s seen the trailer knows it, and the opening scene (which was fantastic and I was sold on the movie by the end of it) involved a teenage boy being chased through his house by an unseen, bloodthirsty force so there is an establishment of supernatural monsters from the word go. The lead characters are also interesting, them being Charley, Jerry and Peter Vincent, but I did find that the supporting cast was lacking. They were just their archetypes, which didn’t detract from the film but I cannot say they stood out. And the acting itself among the lead characters was top notch, especially David Tennant as Peter Vincent. He nailed it! He had such charisma and eccentricity that was reminiscent of his work s The Doctor in Doctor Who but here he played such a sleazy alcoholic that put a completely different spin on the kind of roles I am used to seeing him in.
Finally, the tension in this film is palpable. There were so many sections where I was on the edge of my seat, in a constant state of tension and fear that the vampire would strike or that Charley would be caught doing something he shouldn’t. I believe most of this was through Gillespie’s use of tight camera work so as to leave the surround areas hidden from the audience and left up to their imaginations. Add to that a quick glimpse of a silhouette or a sound and it was quite intense. Fright Night was a lot of fun and of a much higher quality then I was expecting from a remake of an 80s comedy. I would recommend you all check it out!
See you next time!