An update on Fright Night, even if only loosely connected, might seem odd, but I suppose with the popularity of vampires, werewolves, and so forth on the upswing, nothing in the general realm is really a surprise. But, while every manner of vampire story is making its way to a screen of some sort, and largely with less than impressive results, Fright Night is an update in a truer sense than most, and that ultimately means much more than simply putting out yet another tale of the undead.
Like the mid-80s version, Fright Night is not only about trying to put “creepy” back in the horror genre (as opposed to massive gore and slaughter), but its also a certain kind of throwback to a more distant time, when scary movies were a very particular sort of awesomely bad at their main effort. Perhaps a few scary moments, sure, but overall simply about something scary, rather than truly frightening in themselves. Moreover, infused with a certain craziness that makes for a fun factor which is much more on par with the fun/scary quality of a rollercoaster than a haunted house.
In this go around, Charley (Anton Yelchin) suspects that his new neighbor is a vampire. It takes a lot of convincing, but in the end, he can’t escape the idea that Jerry (Colin Farrell) is indeed sucking the blood out of his tiny neighborhood.
Of course, Charley has other problems, largely stemming apparently from the fact that he’s sort of nerdy and has a hot girlfriend, but High School woes soon fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, as soon as it starts to look like Jerry might actually be, at least very odd, it also seems that Jerry is taking an equal interest in Charley.
With nowhere else to turn, Charley seeks out Peter Vincent (brilliantly portrayed by David Tennant), who is a Vegas magician with an act that centers around the occult. Apparently some kind of expert, at least according to certain stories, Charley is quickly turned away by the ever-intoxicated conjurer who looks quite a bit different off-stage.
Also like the original, what happens isn’t of much consequence. All that matters is that there is a certain amount of tension, and it is of a variety that fits well with the world of a not-quite-twenty. The steps of discovery, pursuit, and further discovery are not only creepy, but charming, just as is Farrell’s spin on vampirism. The mix of reality and necessary goofiness is almost a perfect blend, especially in the case of Christopher Mintz-Plasse‘s character (Charley’s too geeky to hang out with anymore friend) who is “horror” enough to run upstairs in a house when chased by a vampire, yet real enough to deliver a fantastic reaction to the loss of an arm.
It’s bizarrely fun, and that either works for you, or it doesn’t. If there’s a chance it does, you don’t want to miss this. No one is going to really get scared by this one, but it’s a definite good time.
The bonus features (see full list below) are about what you might expect from something that is ultimately just a quick romp of a film. Decent enough date night fare isn’t the sort of thing that is going to lend itself to depth in the bonuses. A gag reel and a few deleted scenes are about all you can expect, and those show up to provide a few laughs.
Best is the featurette Peter Vincent: Swim Inside My Mind, which is a kind of mockumentary exploring the magician persona. It’s the sort of thing Vincent would sell after his shows for $19.99, leaving everyone feeling rather ripped off. It’s a fun effort, even if it doesn’t quite amount to much.
You get a few other bits and pieces, like an extended version of the Squid Man video seen in the film, and the uber-silly The Official – How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie Guide, which, if nothing else, clues you in to the atmosphere the film is after.
Overall, the release is a pretty solid effort, especially considering the film. The Blu-Ray video is above-average, which is a surprise in itself, and delivers the darks and shadows well. On the other hand, apart from giving a solid representation of mood, there isn’t that much for the video to do in such a feature. The bonuses are better than you’d expect, but only because you wouldn’t expect a ton. Fair enough though, because adding some fun is all you ought to be looking for, and they are at least well worth a look.
If the fun factor moves you, this is one to pick up.
Check out several clips below, and be sure to enter to win a copy!
Fright Night – Film Clip: “Don’t Expect Me to Join Your Scooby Gang”
Fright Night – Film Clip: “Your Son is Harassing Me”
Fright Night – Bonus Clip: “Kid Comeback”
- Gag Reel (unrated)
- Kid Cudi Music Video (uncensored version) ―No One Believes Me‖
- Squid Man – Extended & Uncut
- Peter Vincent: Swim Inside My Mind
- The Official ―How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie‖ Guide
- Frightful Facts & Terrifying Trivia
- 5 Deleted Scenes with intros by Director Craig Gillepsie (Ride to School; Neighborly; Once A Freak, Always A Freak; Midori & Kerosene; and Back at the Penthouse)
Win It Here!
To enter for your chance to win a copy of the Blu-Ray release, just leave a comment below. Remember, I have to be able to contact you somehow. Winner will be randomly selected on January 20th. U.S. only.