Fright Night (2011) - There are remakes that do not have to be seen. This was one of those films I for a long time now just past on. It had something to do with the timing of the original. In 1985 I was just a few years out of high school the original was right in a sweet spot for me. Sort of goofy but also a bit scary (just a bit) I was now in an apartment in the Boston surrounded by people who could be anyone, maybe even a vampire. I remember really liking the original when it came out. Over the years revisiting it and realizing what campy fun it really is. Written by Tom Holland a wonderful actor, writer and director who also wrote Child's Play (1988) and Thinner (1996) it is a genre staple with a unique personality. The original with capture more of my youth with it's Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), a face I knew so well. Not from the first role I saw him in as Galen in Planet of the Apes (1968) and a couple later films in that series but from a film I loved as a kid, The Legend Of Hell House (1973), but you have to understand this guy was showing up on our little black and white screen all through my life. Appearing in probably every popular TV show for fifty years. His appearance in Fright Night (1985) was almost nostalgic. Not only that but he was so good as the washed up horror a host who reluctantly finds the courage to help a kid with a vampire living next door. In recent viewing that film was a bit too tame for my liking, I think my exploration of the Italian giallo masters and other more hard core gore filled movies has broken me a bit when it comes to this campy, fun style of horror. Still this film holds a place in my heart. When the remake came out I really had no interest in it. I stuck it on my 300 movie long Netflix queue and forgot about it.
When it came I was luke warm about watching it putting it off for about a week. The film changes some of the setting and wisely does not try to reproduce the Peter Vincent character. Instead of a washed up horror host Peter Vincent (David Tennant) is a hot magician doing a vampire themed act in Vegas. An expert on vampires according to his website leading to Charlie (Anton Yelchin) recruiting him when the Vampire Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. Screenwriter Marti Noxon does a good job in transplanting he story to Las Vegas, one a large city with unrestrained growth into the surrounding dessert, capturing a time when the house bubble has exploded leaving neighborhoods mostly empty and easily preyed upon by the vampire. Less thrilling was the dynamic of dorky kid being pulled into the popular kids group by the pretty girl who likes him. Amy was well played with a very attractive confidence by Imogen Poots. Not that it is not well thought out and written in a way that makes sense, Noxon is a true professional and has lots of references and side comments that fully round out the characters and how they came to be. Just seemed that the left behind friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) was so hurt being left behind that he came across as too mean spirited. The weakest parts of this film I think is writing in the victim role for the Peter Vincent character, it is way too much of a coincidence that this magician would have the backstory he has to this particular vampire. Lets be clear here though the script is solid and the acting good but I don't know about that particular back story and if it is believable that things came together in just that way.
The effects are more numerous and enjoyable in this remake and the cameo from Chris Sarandon was great. I have to say when the film finished I was pretty pleased with it. So as with all the movies I watch this year @Soresport my twitter account will attempt to follow some of the actors in this film.unfortunately well established actor often do not have twitter accounts and there are a lot of those in this film.