[Review] Fright Night

Fright Night (2011)

Dir: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell and David Tennant

When I was choosing my sessions for Empire Presents… BIG SCREEN I chose the premiere of Fright Night because a. David Tennant was due to be attending and b. it was about vampires. I was completely unaware that it was a remake of the 1985 film of the same name starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale and Amanda Bearse.

I really enjoyed this film, though I obviously can’t compare it to the original. I’ll get this out the way first, though, I watched it in Real D 3D and I really don’t think it added anything to the film. If it’s available at your cinema in 2D, you may as well watch it in that.

Anyway, back to the story. Anton Yelchin stars as Charley, a teenager living with his mother (Toni Collette) in Las Vegas. At school, his once close-friend Ed informs him that many students have gone missing. After Ed blackmails him in to coming with him, Charley visits an old friend’s house. Ed explains that he believes the disappearances are connected to Charley’s new neighbour, Jerry – Ed believes that Jerry is a vampire. When Ed doesn’t turn up for school the next time, it is up to Charley to find out what’s going on. To do that, he enlists the help of Las Vegas magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant).

While the plot isn’t that strong – it’s never explained why Jerry has come to Las Vegas – the characters certainly make up for it. Charley is very likeable as is his girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots). Colin Farrell makes a pretty good vampire and, in the words of Scott over at Front Room Cinema, makes a ‘creepy but subtle bad guy’. However, it is David Tennant who steals the limelight. I thought I wouldn’t be able to take him seriously all dolled up with long black hair, black eyeliner and a long jacket. Luckily, he removes all his stage gear so, to a point, I was able to take him seriously.

With a host of vampiric artefacts, leather armchairs and a fire, Peter Vincent’s penthouse is rather camp. The penthouse isn’t the only source of hilarity in the film. In one scene, some strategically placed crucifixes in a hospital room drew quite a lot of laughs in our screening.

I’d recommend this film as a Saturday night in with your friends. It’s not perfect but it’s entertaining and features some great performances by Farrell and Tennant.

★★★½

  • Fright Night opens in the UK 2nd September.
David Tennant at the Fright Night premiere at Empire Presents... BIG SCREEN.
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6 thoughts on “[Review] Fright Night”

  1. Nice review, Claire. From what I’ve seen at Comic con, it seems to me that Tennant would steal the show and surely he did. Colin seems perfectly cast as a vampire, but I don’t think he’s scary at all actually. In the original, Chris Sarandon was elegant and seductive but also frightening (hence the title). I might rent it just for fun, but doesn’t look like it’s worth seeing on the big screen.

  2. What confuses me is that Tennant is hardly in the trailer – in fact, I don’t think he has a speaking part in it. I wasn’t looking forward to this but after seeing a few positive reviews I’m going to check it out. Surely if he has the role once so brilliantly held by Roddy McDowell, he has to steal the show?

    1. I have to admit that I really did know nothing about Fright Night before I booked my tickets, hadn’t even seen the trailer 😛

      I will Google this Roddy McDowell, and add the original to my lovefilm rental list! 😀

      Enjoy it if you do catch it, Dan.

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