Only in my perfect world would I be lucky enough to score Colin Farell as my new next door neighbor. I can just imagine all of the creepy lurking that I would do from my bedroom window as I watched his every move. Sadly, the world doesn’t go my way and instead I get stuck with middle-aged lesbians or annoying children for neighbors. However, for Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) in the remake of Fright Night, he gets to live out my fantasy, only, Farrell’s Jerry just so happens to be a vampire. Eh, that’s not so bad, right?
Fans of the 1985 version know the story: A young boy realizes that his new next door neighbor is different. He only comes out at night and his windows are blacked out. He’s ridiculously good looking and very charming. He’s a…vampire. This time around, Charley is still nerdy but slightly less annoying and he has a hot girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots). His majorly aggravating bestie, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), isn’t exactly his bestie anymore and the two only reunite once Ed confronts him with suspicions about his new neighbor.
The film immediately throws the audience into the action, beginning with the major characters realizing that Jerry is in fact a vampire. The two friends, Charley and Ed, are barely speaking and what has happened between them isn’t fully explained. Yes, the two are on the outs because Charley started dating a popular girl and didn’t want to be seen with a dork, but how things got to that point wasn’t really detailed. I felt as if I was watching the movie from the middle rather than the beginning, because a lot of the plot was just grazed over.
Ed explains to Charley that he has been watching Jerry and he is convinced that the man is a vampire. However, my problem was that they didn’t actually show Ed watching the guy and why the hell was he even watching him in the first place? It didn’t make sense. BUT, these problems didn’t ruin the movie for me too much.
So, as in the original, Ed and Jerry have a confrontation and the skinny little weakling gets turned into a vampire. Then…he falls off the face of the screen and isn’t seen again until much later in the movie. I haven’t seen the original in a very long time but if I’m remembering correctly, Ed was a larger part of the film than he was in this remake, so, this bothered me a little bit. I wish that the director had used him more, because in my opinion, his vampire character would have made the film more interesting.
After Ed disappears, Charley begins to wonder that maybe his friend was right about Jerry and he begins looking into the situation on his own. He finds tapes that Ed recorded of the neighbor, and there’s just one strange thing about them–Jerry doesn’t actually show up on the film, because he has no reflection. Later, Jerry makes his way over to Charley’s house and asks for some beer. Charley uses this opportunity to see if Jerry can enter his house without being invited in, and of course, he cannot. Immediately, both characters are on to each other and trouble soon follows.
I like how this remake was updated without drifting too far away from the original version, and I actually enjoyed this film. It was pretty entertaining and I think that Colin Farell was the perfect choice for Jerry, despite my initial reservations. He just captured the essence of the charming yet dangerous guy who could snap your neck in an instant or do you a favor instead. Not to mention, he’s not too bad on the eyes either.
Yelchin’s Charley seemed like a stronger character than William Ragsdale’s Charley, and he wasn’t as pathetic as the one in the original, however, we didn’t get to know much about him. There wasn’t much development into his character to see him grow from a pathetic dork into the brave hero who saves the day. But, as I said, I enjoyed this film because it was fun and I already knew the characters from the original movie so, it wasn’t much of a problem for me.
When Charley needs help killing the vampire he turns to vampire aficionado, TV personality, Vincent Price (David Tennant), who is nothing more than a clone of Russell Brand and Criss Angel combined. Price is a larger-than-life performer who provides some humor as well as some history on the type of vampire that Jerry is.
As in the original, Price brushes Charley off as an obsessed fan but later comes to his aide. Although I do like Tennant, who once played Doctor Who, I really enjoyed the original Vincent Price, played by Roddy McDowall, because he really reminded me of a Samuel Loomis-type of character that was often necessary in older horror movies. McDowall’s Price seemed like a much better fit for the film but I guess Tennant’s Price was suited for the updated version.
My favorite part of the film was the final battle in Jerry’s gigantic basement. First of all, how the hell did his house have a basement the size of a friggin’ underground crypt/tomb? It was HUGE! But, I digress. As Price is confronting Jerry, Jerry throws a pebble off of his forehead, causing bloodshed, which results in an awesome scene of zombie-like vamps crawling out of the walls. I just thought that this part was really cool because it was a little different and it reminded me of “From Dusk Til Dawn”.
Charley reunites with Price and decides to take out a plan that the two had previously devised. He lights himself on fire and jumps onto Jerry, while simultaneously clipping himself to his body. The two bounce all over the basement as Jerry struggles to get the teen off of him. Price makes the brilliant move of shooting the floorboards above, releasing light into the basement, and essentially killing the 400 year-old vamp. Immediately, all of the new vamps, including Charley’s girl and Price, turn back into their normal, human selves. The final scene was a great update to the original finale and I enjoyed it.
Overall, I thought that the movie was a decent update to the ’85 classic. The film was funny, up-to-date, and it had enjoyable elements to it. I had problems with some of the character and story development, but it didn’t take me away from enjoying the film. I think that Evil Ed was underused in the movie and that there should have been more vampire scenes featuring Farrell, but it was still fun to watch. It obviously was not as great as the original but it is definitely worth a watch.
Did you like this remake?