Right off the bat, the Fright Night remake did some things incredibly right, at least for me. Hot off the many heels of The United States of Tara, Toni Colette isthe mom. I’m amazed she even did it, but glad she did. Colin Farrell is the vampire. Not saying he is in any way better than Chris Sarandon in the original—but he looks hotter than he has in years and it’s not a stretch to imagine him sucking on your neck. And speaking of Chris Sarandon…he has a cameo. AWESOME.
Of course, there are some things you simply cannot top from the original’s legacy. What is Fright Night without Herman’s Head guy as the lead, the Married With Children lesbo as his girlfriend, the freaky gay porn star kid as his best friend (although the Super Bad kid in the new one is good casting), and Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent? The Peter Vincent character is my least favorite part of the remake. Don’t get me wrong. While the Doctor Who guy is quite good in his part, the character of the horror host is written as this cliché goth rock type. Yawn.
Now, I have to say, the opening scene, while using typical slick modern horror opening scene conventions, is quite suspenseful. It definitely could have been longer, and from what I can tell, this is the scene that appeared in the trailer with the vampire hovering right above the bed while the kid is hiding underneath it. That clip didn’t make the cut in the finished product, despite being hot. Bummer. The scene also demonstrates in detail how it’s okay to keep a gun in a home filled with kids as long as you have a lock on it. I’m guessing the NRA sponsored this film.
Fright Night remake is pretty nonstop in its action from start to finish with a bit of humor thrown in, so it definitely keeps you interested. Although, I could have done without the Twilight reference (too soon! Like pouring salt on an open wound). The most blatant problem is the overuse of CGI. Even so, when Colin turns all demonic, it looks pretty sick—and I hate to say this, but he kinda looks like John Travolta in his ghastly form! Sorry, John. Still love you in Grease!
Toni Colette rocks as the mother—my mom probably would have believed me just as quickly if I told her there was a vampire living next door, because she was cool that way. Also, there are some awesome creepy crawly vampires that move in true Ring 2 fashion, and watch out for the man-on-man kiss (in lieu of the freaky gay porn star kid, perhaps???).
Fright Night 2011 will never rival Fright Night 1985. But it’s watchable. Personally, I think its biggest flaw is the absence of the theme song performed by the J. Geils Band, which I have on 45 RPM vinyl but which was completely ignored by pop radio in 1985 because Peter Wolf had already left the band. Lights Out. I mean…Peace Out.