FRIGHT NIGHT is back, with a whole lot more gore but enough campy humor and a strong enough story line that this remake probably will delight fans of the cult 1985 original. In contrast to other films like INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE and the more recent TWILIGHT trilogy, the vampire in FRIGHT NIGHT is clearly evil. However, the movie has too much foul language and other cruder elements. It also has a strong humanist worldview that trivializes faith and suggests human beings are left up to their own devices to save humanity from damnation.
In the story, Charley Brewster (played by Anton Yelchin), a too cool for high school senior dating the most attractive girl in his class, realizes that Jerry (Colin Farrell), the new, mysteriously aloof neighbor next door with his eye on Charley’s mom, is a vampire. Charley must step up to save his friends – or those who are left, including his girlfriend Amy, not to mention his mom, from certain (un)death. It’s too late, however, for Charley’s childhood friend, Ed, who is one of the first teenagers turned by Jerry when Charley refuses to listen to Ed’s warnings in favor of spending time with his new girlfriend.
[SPOILER ALERTS] Charley must turn now for help to alleged vampire expert and magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant), who hosts a sexy magic show in Las Vegas. Everything about Vincent screams illusion and fraud, from his over the top makeup to his wigs and super tight leather pants. At first, he refuses to assist Charlie and Amy, preferring instead to hole up in his luxury apartment with plenty of alcohol and a scantily-clad girlfriend.
However, when “Evil” Ed arrives with a delivery and news that Jerry is on his way to visit, trouble hits closer to home. Amy and Charley try to flee from Jerry and discover a slew of Christian relics and other artifacts used to fight vampires and other occult creatures, collected by Peter Vincent after his parents were killed by none other than Jerry when he was a young boy. Can Peter face up to his fears and help Charley destroy the evil vampire?
The performances all around in FRIGHT NIGHT are excellent. Colin Farrell and David Tennant steal the show as the dashingly evil vampire and glamorized vampire hunter. With a strong script, the movie will hold the horror enthusiast’s attention from beginning to end. In fact, with its new setting – the city of sin itself, Las Vegas – and a star-studded cast, FRIGHT NIGHT offers a refreshing example of how a remake can breathe new life into its predecessor.
Sadly, however, the witty humor, sharp dialogue and strong acting is too often overshadowed by a slew of unnecessary obscenities, hyped-up sexual content, a whole lot of drinking, and much more bloody gore and violence than in the 1985 version. Also, in a reprise from the original, when Charley fights Jerry off with a cross, the vampire scoffs, saying, “The question is, do you have faith?” Judging by the way in which Jerry destroys the crucifix, the answer is a resounding “no.”
Even though the vampire is clearly evil in FRIGHT NIGHT, the movie nonetheless trivializes the role of religion and faith. Instead, it opts to champion a strong humanist worldview whereby Charley and Peter Vincent are left to their own devices, and a bag of tricks, to save humanity from damnation. (By contrast, in THE RITE, the Catholic priest wrestles with his belief before reaffirming his faith in order to become God’s vessel and defeat the demon.) MOVIEGUIDE®, therefore, judges the new FRIGHT NIGHT to be unacceptable viewing.
(HH, OO, B, C, Ho, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, AA, DD, M) Strong humanist worldview in which teenagers fight off evil with their intelligence, wit and their own devices, with no successful appeal to the transcendent, pervasive occult imagery and vampires (occult commercial on TV, fake magician and vampire hunter in occult Vegas show, occult images on walls of vampire’s home), but the focus is on tracing the young protagonist’s to risk everything – even his own life – to save his girlfriend, mom, friends, and neighbors from the evil vampire that’s moved in next door, with Christian symbols, crosses and relics (like a nail of the crucifixion and a goblet full of holy water, perhaps intended to represent the Holy Grail) abounding, and although protagonist holds up a cross and says “I repel you in the name of the Lord,” it’s implied he doesn’t have faith, plus a homosexual reference when girl kisses girl on mouth in background in Vegas club; 80 obscenities (including many “f” words) and 14 profanities; intense graphic violence with blood and gore, such as boy finds parents dead and bloody, hides under bed and loads gun, vampire attacks boys smoking pot in car and blood spatters everywhere, vampire viciously sucks blood from humans on numerous occasions, girl hits vampire in the head with mace, throws holy water in vampire’s face, girl on the point of turning into a vampire explodes in sunlight during attempted escape, and many other instances of violence; strong lewd sexual references overall include crude reference to using a toy to pleasure oneself, teenage girl lures boyfriend on bed and invites him under the covers, woman jokes with boyfriend that he “came early again in the bedroom,” magician itches crotch in tight leather pants, vampire crudely jokes to police inquiring about noise as he killed a woman that “you bet she screamed” and implying they were having intercourse, stripper comes over to spend night with vampire, vampire seduces teenage girl and implies he has had sexual relations with her, vampire lures single women over to home in order to seduce them and drink their blood, girl kisses girl on mouth in background in Vegas club, teenage girl seduces boyfriend out of wedlock, and he eventually concedes, and teenage girl and boyfriend protagonist decide to have pre-marital sex in the final scene; partial nudity and upper male nudity, including girl in underwear on phone, girl in bra, woman’s buttocks visible from behind as she pulls on silk robe; magician drinks constantly to forget a vampire killed his parents when he was a child, drinking at club, underage teenager takes beer from his mom’s fridge to give to adult vampire to protect mom and get rid of him; some smoking of cigars/cigarettes and boys smoke marijuana in car; and, girl lies to mom about whereabouts in order to protect her and stay with boyfriend to fight vampires and boy steals jacket from casino card table in order to follow vampire and save girlfriend.
FRIGHT NIGHT is a remake of a cult vampire movie from 1985. A popular high school student, Charley, learns the new neighbor next door, Jerry, who’s trying to woo his mother, is actually a vampire. Charley must step up and save his friends and mom. He seeks the help of cheesy Vegas magician Peter Vincent, who claims to be a vampire expert. Charley finds out Jerry the vampire killed Peter’s own parents years ago. Can Peter face up to his fears and help Charley destroy the evil vampire?
The performances in FRIGHT NIGHT are excellent. Sadly, however, the witty humor, sharp dialogue and strong acting are too often overshadowed by a slew of unnecessary obscenities, hyped-up sexual content, a whole lot of drinking, and much more bloody gore and violence than the 1985 version. Even though the vampire is clearly evil, the movie trivializes the role of religion and faith. Instead, it opts to champion a strong humanist worldview whereby Charley and Peter are left to their own devices and a bag of tricks to save humanity from damnation. MOVIEGUIDE®, therefore, judges the new FRIGHT NIGHT to be unacceptable viewing.