Vampires are kind of the trendy thing right now. With the likes of Twilight and True Blood being probably the most popular of these recent vampire arrivals in pop culture. Now I hate Twilight and liked True Blood for a while. As a big fan of all things vampire I was excited to see the amazing Marti Noxon attached to pen the remake of the very fun and campy eighties vampire romp Fright Night. This particular remake is part of the rare club of remakes that are better than the original. This pleases me.
The first thing that Fright Night does right is the tone. It is so perfectly in line with today’s world and also feels like a bizzaro Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode. This is probably because of Noxon whose character driven humor and warped sexuality come out in spades here. Besides the wonderful script though we have what is essentially the best portrayal of a vampire in a very long time. Marti Noxon said she wanted to hearken back to the days of the scary vampire. Not the brooding loner romantic. She wanted her vampire to have more in common with the shark from Jaws than the gloomy lovesick vampires that have overpopulated our world of cinema these past couple years. In one sense this is a film that rebels against the world that was created in Twilight. And I say good job. The irony here though is that without the success of Twilight this film probably never happens.
But enough of the world of vampire mythology in recent media. Onto the Fright Night. What makes Fright Night work is the blend of dark humor and believable suspense. Colin Farrell plays Jerry the Vampire and he is probably my favorite villain of the year. He’s a menace. He has one real objective and that is to feed. He does it as often as he likes and he doesn’t care if he gets into trouble. He’ll eat the cops if he has to. His relentless bloodlust is played out terrifically in action sequences that at time hearken back to the days of Terminator 2. Mr. Craig Gillespie is not really known for his work in either genre films or action, his most famous film being Lars and the Real Girl, but he is quite the craftsman of both solid action and well played suspense.
Fright Night is a gem. I had worries going into this because of the trailer that in my opinion was a mess in terms of tone but in the capable hands of Craig Gillespie, Marti Noxon and, these fine actors (most notably David Tennant, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots and Anton Yelchin) comes what is my favorite horror comedy since Shaun of the Dead. It barely cracks my top ten of the year, and it probably won’t stay but I think this will be a film I go back to quite often. Loads of fun. Go watch it.