Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A night of fright

Happy Halloween!

What do you when you’re off sick on Halloween?  You snuggle up on the sofa and watch a film!

I’ve got quite a few horror films on the old Sky planner but due to the reasons for which I was off sick, I didn’t want anything too heavy so I chose Fright Night, the 2011 remake of the 1985 Fright Night, billed as a horror-comedy.

Staring Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, David Tennant and Toni Collette among others, I wasn’t sure about Fright Night (hence not watching it until now) but I was very pleasantly surprised.  When Charlie (Yelchin) discovers that his new neighbour is a vampire named Jerry (Yelchin), he fights hard to protect his girlfriend and mother (Collette), turning to vampire expert Peter Vincent (Tennant) for help.

Fright Night successfully pulls off a vampire movie that isn’t too scary but is interesting and tense enough to not be boring.  Sure, it has romance and the vampires are fairly traditional – garlic, crosses, holy water, etc – which does make it a little cliché in places and yet the romance isn’t overbearing and the clichés are subtle enough to work harmoniously with the characters and plot to make this a modern, fast paced vampire flick.

It may be considered that Colin Farrell would be a strange choice for the vampire but he is actually brilliant.  As all vampires should be, he is sexy and suave but he also manages to pull off an original, dangerous aura with strange head gestures and a dark confidence.  In other words, he is a believable vampire without being yet another clone straight from the vampire mould.

The special effects were also good.  Often less is more and this film keeps a lot of the vampire effects until the climax which means that there is an build up of tension throughout.  While the vampire effects were good and creepy, they were not particularly horrifying although the squealing, animalistic noises and actions were brilliantly original and spine tingling.
What is especially enjoyable is the seemingly painful transition that the vampires experience between humanoid and monster and the build up that the vampire has to go through before feeding, giving a new insight into the monster that I haven’t seen in other vampire flicks.

David Tennant was a breath of fresh air and such a good choice for the character of Peter Vincent when the casting people could have easily chosen Russell Brand and completely ruined the character.  At first Vincent is Russell Brand but Tennant is able to add layer upon layer to Vincent to make him go from an arrogant prick to bumbling, drunken vampire hunter, in order words you dislike him and then you love him. him, well...emphasise with him.

Yelchin (Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation and Chekov in Star Trek, if you were wondering) was flawless.  What was especially interesting about his character is that he starts the film as a bubbly teenager and towards the end he is pale and ruffled and has a look of Twilight’s Edward - the vampire prey becomes the vampire of a poetic fashion.  Whether the irony of this was on purpose or not, it works wonders and helps to show the realistic horror of what he is facing.  This is particularly important in modern vampire films in a world where vampires have become so common place and almost boring.

While dubbed as a horror comedy, Fright Night is not particularly funny.  It is light hearted in places and more creepy then scary but there were no laugh out loud moments.  I did, however, enjoy Charlie attempting to break into Jerry’s house using his smart phone to get instructions on picking locks.  I enjoyed the fact that it worked even more!  Seriously, is there an app for that?

Fright Night is a fast paced, modern vampire film which is effectively creepy and light hearted at the same time.  There is not one weak link in the cast and there are even some original moments (bearing in mind I haven’t seen the 1985 film) which makes the whole experience refreshing.  If one was to be picky, the weakest part would be the romance but even this is done gently.  There’s no slush to be found in this film, although perhaps this could have been done without the strong emphasis on sex/the losing of virginity but this again was a bit different.

Fright Night is definitely worth a watch.  It isn’t amazing but it is enjoyable with interesting characters.  Who’s ever heard of a vampire called Jerry, anyway?

“This is real. He's a real monster and he's not brooding, or lovesick, or noble. He's the fucking shark from Jaws. He kills, he feeds, and he doesn't stop until everybody around him is dead. And I seriously am so angry you think I read Twilight.”

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