In the interest of full disclosure, I should state that for some odd reason, I’ve never seen the original Fright Night released in 1985. While some may believe that makes me unqualified to judge the recent Craig Gillespie remake. I figure this: while I can’t tell you how this one compares to the original, not having seen that one means that I come at this one with fresh eyes and no preconceived notions.
A high school senior, Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) has shed his image as a geek in favor of a sexy girlfriend named Amy (Imogen Poots) and a group of cool friends. Given his new social status, Charley has little time for his old friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). However, Charley is forced to listen when Ed delivers some potentially disturbing news: Jerry (Colin Farrell), the man who has just moved in next door to the Brewster’s is a vampire. “That is a terrible vampire name,” Charley insists, not unreasonably. “Jerry?” But when Ed disappears, Charley realizes his buddy was probably right—this Jerry guy sleeps all day, and stays up all night doing weird stuff. Seeking vampire hunting advice from occult magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant), Charley mounts an attack, hoping to uncover Jerry’s weakness before all his loved ones are turned into bloodsuckers.
The screenplay, adapted by longtime Buffy the Vampire Slayer scribe Marti Noxon, brings Buffy’s wit, and a real attempt to keep viewers of balance to her work here. While Noxon provides some genuine scares, the scripts obvious weakness comes as a surprise: despite her extensive experience working on Buffy, the interactions set in high school (albeit, quite brief) are uneven and clunky. There are also some huge holes in the plot. Why don’t we ever see Ed’s parents again? Are they even the least bit concerned about what happened to their son?
Some surprisingly strong acting helps make up for some of the scripts shortcomings. Farrell makes for a great vampire, giving Jerry the perfect mix of menace and oddity. David Tennant’s (widely known for his role as the Doctor on Doctor Who) Vincent is both goofy and oddly creepy—If Criss Angel was funny, he’d be mistaken for Vincent. This works, as the rather innocent looking Yelchin plays well off both men. Toni Collette doesn’t get much to work with as Charley’s mom, but as she often does, the Aussie makes the most of her material. Lastly, Imogen Poots is great to watch in the most obvious Buffy inspired role.
Presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer looks pretty solid. Boasting digital photography that remains fairly sharp and detailed throughout, fans should be quite happy with this release. Black levels are appropriately deep and inky in the dead of night, although contrast occasionally looks flat in dimly lit shots.
Fright Night‘s DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack is excellent. A wholly immersive experience, there’s good heft at both the high and low ends. The surround channels are utilized throughout, making you feel as if you’re inside the film. The music is robust, and placement is spot on. Much like the video, fans of the film should be pleased with this audio mix.
English, French, and Spanish subtitles are available.
The following special features are included:
- Peter Vincent: Come Swim in My Mind (1080p, 2:09): A short piece that assumes Vincent and his Fright Night is real. The piece features Vincent offering a brief overview of his show.
- The Official “How to Make a Funny Vampire Movie” Guide (1080p, 8:04): Cast and crew offer a brief overview of the movie’s different elements: the actors and their characters and performances, working traditional vampire story elements into the plot, the film’s gore effects, creating a believable hero, the quality of the film’s sound effects and score, and more.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes (1080p, 4:51): Ride to School; Neighborly; Once a Freak, Always a Freak; Midori & Kerosene; and Back at the Penthouse.
- Squid Man: Extended & Uncut (1080p, 2:56): The entire short amateur backyard film as briefly seen in the movie.
- Bloopers (1080p, 3:23).
- Music Video (1080p, 5:21): “No One Believes Me” by Kid Cudi.
- DVD Copy.