Synopsis: Senior Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) finally has it all-he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the hottest girl in high school. In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). But trouble arrives when an intriguing stranger Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right-and everyone, including Charlie’s mom (Toni Collette), doesn’t notice. After witnessing some very unusual activity, Charlie comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on his neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone that he’s telling the truth, Charlie has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself in this Craig Gillespie-helmed revamp of the comedy-horror classic.
Release Date: August 19, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Charley Brewster (The Beaver‘s Anton Yelchin) is a normal high school kid living in suburban Las Vegas. He’s got a cool mom (Toni Collette from The Sixth Sense), a hot girlfriend named Amy (Imogen Poots from 28 Weeks Later) and a vampire that just moved in next door to him. Charley’s friend Evil Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who was Red Mist in Kick-Ass) tries to warn him about his new neighbor, a charming stud named Jerry Dandridge (Colin Farrell from Horrible Bosses), but Charley doesn’t believe him. One by one the families from the neighborhood disappear, and soon Charley accepts the truth about Jerry: that he is a vampire. Along with Amy, Charley enlists the help of a Las Vegas showman and “vampire hunter” named Peter Vincent (David Tennant, the Doctor himself from the BBC’s “Doctor Who”), who Charley quickly learns is nothing more than an illusionist and a fraud. Nonetheless, Peter is all the help that Charley and Amy have as they fight to save the neighborhood and themselves from Jerry.
Fright Night is a fairly faithful remake of the campy 1985 film of the same name. Director Craig Gillespie (Mr. Woodcock) takes screenwriter Marti Noxon’s (I Am Number Four) update of Tom Holland’s (the man who also brought the world Child’s Play) initial story and turns the volume up. The acting is upgraded immensely from the original, so the reboot is more of a traditional horror film than a campy b-movie tribute. Fright Night is still the same cool vampire flick, but with the upgraded production values it just looks slicker. This is how horror movie reboots should be – fix the flaws in the original film without compromising the fun.
Cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe is no stranger to vampire films, having worked on both New Moon and Eclipse in the Twilight series. Fright Night is a different kind of vampire movie than Twilight, and the experienced Aguirresarobe figures this out. He uses shadows and reflections in creative ways that give the picture a dark feel without obscuring details. For example, Aguirresarobe will frequently shoot characters from the other side of a window, with the reflection from the glass patterning across the principal’s face. It adds a unique detail to the shot without taking anything away from the actor’s performance.
There is one scene in particular where Charley, Amy and Charley’s mom are fleeing the city in a car, trying to get away from Jerry. Of course the car crashes, and the camera inside the car drifts seemingly in circles around the faces of the characters while they panic, adding to the tension and confusion of an already well-written scene. It is decisions like this that make the cinematography in Fright Night stand out, subtle one minute and smash-mouth the next.
Fright Night was shot in 3D, and the effect is more textural than anything else. The 3D adds depth and dimension to the shots, and is particularly effective when coupled with Aguirresarobe’s use of selective focus and depth of field. Every once in a while the 3D will get gimmicky (like with hands reaching, or arrows flying towards the viewer), but for the most part the 3D is done tastefully and not obnoxiously.
Being more of a pure horror film than the original, Fright Night is scarier, and not just in the jump and jolt way. The character of Jerry seems invincible, and when he is chasing after Charley and his friends, his pursuit is relentless. Add his vampire minions into the equation, and the sum is a different kind of vampire than what audiences have been given lately – Jerry is not a sensitive lover, he’s a ruthless killer. When he transforms from his handsome human form to his ugly vampire form, the viewer can feel his rage and can’t help but be afraid. Even the vampire fighting weapons that Peter Vincent brings into the picture are mostly useless against him, and that makes Jerry the archetypical formidable antagonist – invincible, unstoppable, and evil. His look is not unique enough for him to be remembered as one of the classic horror villains, but he is the type of character that people check under their beds and in their closets for before they go to sleep.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Craig GillespieAlison R. Rosenzweig
- Producer(s): Marti NoxonTom Holland
- Screenwriter(s): Colin Farrell (Jerry Dandridge)Anton Yenchin (Charley Brewster)
- Story: Christopher Mintz-Plasse (‘Evil’ Ed Thompson)
- Cast: Imogen Poots (Amy Peterson)Toni Collette (Jane Brewster)Dave Franco (Mark) David Tennant (Peter Vincent)Tatiana S. RiegelJavier AguirresarobeRichard Bridgland
- Cinematographer: Ramin Djawadi
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s): Digital Domain
- Music Score: Entity FX
- Music Performed By: Shade VFX
- Country Of Origin: UK