The 2011 version of Fright Night has arrived on Blu-ray, which will hopefully result in a larger audience for this largely overlooked horror flick. Since the 1985 original is a much-loved cult classic, I’m guessing the appearance of a remake resulted in a lot of eye rolling. The movie flopped at the box office when it opened theatrically last summer. It didn’t even manage to out-gross the original’s rather modest take from over a quarter century ago. None of that really matters though, because the new Fright Night is an awesome blast of scary fun.
Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin, Chekov in the Star Trek reboot) and his mom Jane (Toni Collette) live a Las Vegas suburb, a terrifically isolated setting for a scary movie. Charley has a smoking hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots) and hangs with the supposedly cool kids, having turned his back on childhood best friend Evil (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Superbad, Kick-Ass). Though he feels twinges of guilt over his dismissal of Evil, Charley has much bigger concerns when he discovers a vampire has moved in next door. As it becomes increasingly clear that Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell) poses an immediate danger to his family and friends, Charley seeks help from the only credible source he can think of: illusionist extraordinaire and vampire expert Peter Vincent (David Tennant, the tenth Doctor on Doctor Who).
This film doesn’t boast a complicated plot. It follows the basic outline of the 1985 original fairly closely. Where it excels is in the excellent performances of its first-rate cast. Tennant steals every scene he’s in, a frequent occurrence during the film’s second half. The Peter Vincent character represents the remake’s most drastic reworking of the original. The late Roddy McDowall’s Vincent was a past-his-prime actor hosting a late night cable horror movie showcase. The new film reinvents Vincent as flamboyant Vegas showman with an extravagantly produced horror/magic show. Tennant digs into the role and really owns it, drawing a lot of laughs.