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Review: Fright Night

Tom Holland's 1985 horror, Fright Night, now seems to be regarded as a bit of a classic, although it's not without it's flaws. Despite these, the film managed to produce one of the finest horror performances of all time and that was from the great Roddy McDowall. Fans responded so well to this role that it made sense for him to play a much larger part in the sequel, Fright Night Part II. Now Roddy has passed, remaking the film was always going to have some issues, however Craig Gillespie does rather well in this 2011 update.

The script does not deviate too far from the original territory once again we see Charley (Anton Yelchin), as a teenager who discovers that his next door neighbour (Colin Farrell) is a vampire, slowly picking off residents of the town. Charlie seeks the help of Vegas magician and self proclaimed vampire expert, Peter Vincent (David Tennant).

In my opinion, one of the main issues of the original film was some forgettable performances - particularly those from Chris Sarandon's Jerry the vampire (who interestingly has a cameo in the remake) and William Ragsdale as Charley Brewster. However, the 2011 version has really stepped up in respect to these two roles; Colin Farrell is excellent as Jerry, bringing menace, charm and sexiness to the role - stealing absolutely every scene he's in. Anton Yelchin also does very well (despite looking a bit too old for the role), bringing lighthearted humour and likeability to the role. Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Toni Collette and Imogen Poots are also all welcome additions to the cast. The hardest part was surely for David Tennant in stepping into the role of Peter Vincent, the fan favourite from the previous two films. Although I didn't really appreciate the changes to the character, I understand why they were made and despite being incredibly different to Roddy, Tennant does well but never comes close to the character's previous iconic portrayal.

The script at points felt slightly generic but featured a good mix of humour and scares. Christopher Mintz-Plasse's "Evil" Ed gets most of the laughs, in a role which if handled wrong could be incredibly annoying. There's also a fun dynamic between Peter Vincent and his assistant which gets some good laughs. There are a  fair few cliches though, most noticeably an unnecessary and forced link between Vincent and Jerry. Some of the scares also suffer from being rather lazy and predictable.

At points Fright Night feels spoilt by childish vampire effects which just look quite ridiculous, it would have looked better had Jerry stayed in human form throughout. The 3D also feels unnecessary, adding nothing to the film apart from making the screen slightly darker, which no one really wants. No other film has harnessed the use of 3D as well as this year's Drive Angry and Gillespie could have benefited from watching that.

Fright Night is just as likeable as Holland's original; there's generally strong performances and a fun mix of humour and gags. Unfortunately, this remake does have it's fair share of flaws from dodgy plot twists to juvenile effects. It may live up to the memory of the original film but it never surpasses it.


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