The 2011 Remake to the 80’s classic Fright Night went up against a lot of criticism when it came out earlier this year. There were a lot of horror bloggers that outright hated it and backed it up by accusing it of not pandering enough to the original and its fans. Having finally gotten the chance to see the film today I can honestly say without hesitation that Fright Night (2011) is a fun, fast paced, and funny horror film that I very much enjoyed. I’ve been a big fan of the original film and it truly is a movie of its time. Its filled with 80’s horror movie staples such as over the top special effects, scene chewing villains, and homages to the golden age of horror. Last summer I watched the original with some friends my age that had never seen it. While they liked it they thought it was very silly and unintentionally funny. And it is all those things but its still beloved and sacred to most horror fans.
Fright Night (2011) is a carbon copy of the 1985 version but the setting is now in Las Vegas, Peter Vincent is now a douchy “Criss Angel-esque” magician and Evil Ed’s part has been cut back entirely to a smaller role. All of these things i heard about before seeing the film yet I still found myself enjoying it! Colin Ferrell plays Jerry the vampire this time around and he does a great job as the character. He’s menacing, seductive and plays the part with a swarmy-ness that is terrific. Charley Brewster, played by Anton Yelchin is likable and self deprecating. His relationship with his girlfriend (Imogen Poots) is a on shaky ground and he and Ed were once good friends but have drifted apart. There’s something I need to point out about the characters here, they are likable. They’re not spouting catch phrases and giving everyone “attitude” and that seems to be rare in movies today.
The biggest thing that’s wrong with this movie is Peter Vincent. While I ended up liking his character by the end of the film, I still don’t understand why they didn’t make the character something more in tune with the original? Why wasn’t he a 1980’s horror actor? Why didn’t they have Chris Sarandon play the part and have the original Fright Night be part of this world? It was a real missed opportunity and just goes to show that studios just don’t get it when it comes to horror films. But this doesn’t kill the movie and once you resign yourself to the fact that Peter Vincent is a dbag then you can get past it and enjoy the movie.
Yes the special effects are all CG and sometimes not the best CG either. Yes the story is very similar to the original 1985 version but its worth checking out and if you try to get past your own nostalgia you might even enjoy it. I’m a big horror fan and I get the reasons why horror bloggers my age disliked or hated this film but what these people keep forgetting is that teenagers of today are going to see these films and they’re not going to know or care who Tom Atkins is. While it would be great to see some character actors from the 80’s show up in this movie, the studios aren’t going to take that risk and that’s too bad. However as far as modern remakes go of classic 80’s horror films, Fright Night (2011) is at least a fun ride with good acting and likable characters and that’s more than I can say for most remakes.