SciFridays: “Fright Night” (2011)

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Dreamworks

Baddie – I mean, I guess vampires. Colin Farrell’s handsome face.

Lesson – Vampirism is still not the best way to go through puberty.

More vampires in the way Fright Night. I have not seen the original 80’s movie, and while I’d normally watch the original movie first, I made a compulsive decision to watch the remake because uh, David Tennant, Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin. Sorry not sorry. 

I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by Fright Night. I have a vague recollection of it coming out, and the trailers seemed to imply it would be much funnier/campier than it actually was – Fright Night has some genuine moments of tension and some pretty legit jumps.

I’m always a happy camper when I pick a movie based on its cast and then the cast does a great job. Colin Farrell is a great vampire, because he channels such a classic Greaser look, and because he is apparently great at playing ‘disconcerting’. You can’t quite put a finger on why he’s bad, but you know that he definitely is. Anton Yelchin is delightful as always, I have yet to see a movie where he wasn’t adorable with a matured boyish charm. If that sounds like a contradiction, watch Odd Thomas. David Tennant did an admirable job, but the part was a bit too contrived. They don’t really nail the juxtaposition of Criss Angel-esque magician with the nerdiness of Tennant (and Peter Vincent’s non-stage persona), although it was adorable to see him waddle around in leather pants and get into lovers’ quarrels with his stage assistant, I’ll admit. A pleasant surprise, Dave Franco as the high school jock/bully and Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the rejected nerd friend. 

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Dreamworks

What I super liked about this movie was that it committed to a vampiric theme, and it was a classic one with modern notes. Vampirism is often hidden under the guise of masculinity, and that is definitely the case in Fright Night. There are moments that are almost tongue-in-cheek, which ensures that the movie itself isn’t terribly misogynistic, but offers a unique perspective. I’m referring to moments where a girl screams in Jerry’s (Colin Farrell) home, and Charley (Anton Yelchin) calls the cops. You hear Jerry explain, “You bet I made her scream.” implied wink, cue raucous laughter. The cops leave. Another scene, nightclub, Jerry’s got a girl (no spoilers) and Charley protests. The security guard quips, “Seems like she’e enjoying it.” There are lots of moments like this, where genuine concern for someone’s safety is knocked back to gentle sexism. Normally this would ruffle my feathers the wrong way, but because it’s used to explain how Jerry gets away with vampirism, it works on a social level as well as on a plot level. Tl;dr – I read too far into simple horror movies.

Dreamworks

Dreamworks

My main complaint is that it looks like this movie was engineered for 3-D, and as a result some of the cinematography and effects don’t translate well to flat screen. It’s occasionally very annoying, and while there are low-panning-long-shots that are reminisce of older horror, there’s also plastic CGI moments that ruin it.

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