Halloween Month: “McLovin The Vampire Slayer!!”- A Review of “Fright Night” (2011)
WARNING: MILD SPOILERS
2011 has provided fans of the horror genre with some pretty decent movies. Earlier this year we saw the chilling “Insidious”, the controversial “The Woman” and of course my personal guilty pleasures “Scream 4” and “Final Destination 5”. After viewing “Fright Night” in a late night horror screening at my local cinema I can safely say I now have another modern horror movie to add to my best of the year list!
I will note that I have not seen the original therefore this review will not feature any comparisons. I do however plan to see it very soon as its pending on LoveFilm.com so watch this space! I’d also like to add that I viewed the 2D version.
So…. Let’s take a bite out of “Fright Night”…..
As part of the reboot of modern vampire films mostly associated with “Twilight” (2008); “Fright Night” was refreshing as the focus was primarily on the horror and not the forbidden vampire/human love story that seems to feature in most recent films regarding the subject and modern gothic literature. The only comparison drawn would be the film did still look at vampire/human relationships but in an opposing context. The film delves into how protagonist Charley (Played by Anton Yelchin) perceives his strange, nocturnal neighbour Jerry (played by Colin Farrell) and the fear he accumulates. There is a romance sub-plot between two of the human characters Charley and his girlfriend Amy (played by Imogen Poots) however the film is not driven or held together by their relationship it is merely in place to create depth for the characters and acts as a vital purpose for Charley to go up against the fiendish villain.
One of the main enjoyable factors within the film was the use of the traditional iconography in vampire lore. No sparkling vampires; methods on killing them included beheading, a stake through the heart, holy water and sunlight exposure which conformed to expectation of what should feature in a vampire film. Another reason that contributed towards the film being so entertaining is due to how it didn’t take itself too seriously and was self-referential. It is argued that this remake was unnecessary however it does hold importance as a comment on the state of vampire films in modern cinema. Charley initially does not take Ed (Played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse) seriously in regards to his vampire theories due to the “Twilight” hysteria in which he retorts with “I’m actually offended that you think I read Twilight”. Peter Vincent (Played by David Tennant) acts as the most popular character in the film; not only does he have some brilliant one liners but its interesting to see a flawed vampire slayer character; making him all the more endearing; his screen presence was consistently fun to watch . His character challenges perceptions and creates an unsafe atmosphere due to the “hero” prototype acting as a hindrance and a weakness against the antagonist; this leads to Charley becoming stronger and filling in that void. Colin Farrell plays the mysterious, blood-thirsty vampire well, giving off a sense of conflict for the audience between seductive and scary natures. The only surprising moment was the ending; paying homage to older monster movies such as “Dracula” (1931) “Fright Night” returned to a safe place with good prevailing over evil instead of a twist or jump scare to conclude.
Overall “Fright Night” isn’t particularly scary. It has some unexpected jump-cuts and on the whole is very suspenseful; the dark humour portrayed by the cast and screenplay writer Marti Noxon keeps the tone light. The amount of gore featured felt right and wasn’t gross-out or there to shock for the sake of it. Even though we’re not seeing something original here it was finally good to see a film about vampires portrayed in a monstrous fashion; the CGI used was impressive depicting a demonic look for the vampires. The performances were entertaining and it acts as the perfect film for a light-hearted, late night horror viewing.
Hayley Alice Roberts.