Between Twilight selling out movie theater screenings, and The Vampire Diaries on television, there’s no denying the massive vampire craze of the last 10+ years.
Following in the footsteps of The Lost Boys and Near Dark, these vampire media sought to portray them as sympathetic figures, much to the dismay of diehard horror fans, who found Edward Sparkling Cullen to be a great offense to the Count Dracula’s of yesteryear.
But among the many vampire films Hollywood pumped out, one remake of an 80’s classic not only proved to be one of the best remakes of all time, but the best vampire movie of the last 20 years!
Return to Form
As previously mentioned, the early 2010’s were the height of the sympathetic, sexy, sparkly vampire movement, and while teen girls rejoiced at this, many horror fans simply shook their heads.
Which is why it was so fitting that in 2011, Fright Night reminded us of just what a scary vampire could be. As Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s character Ed put so adequately, “[the vampire] is a real monster and he’s not brooding, or lovesick, or noble. He’s the f**king shark from Jaws!”
Fright Night was the perfect response to what young adult fiction had done to the vampire subgenre.
Looking back, there really isn’t a weak link here. The film was led brilliantly by the sadly departed Anton Yelchin, who always managed to bring a sense of humor, relatability, but also a gravitas.
Between Fright Night, Green Room, Star Trek, and Odd Thomas, Yelchin demonstrated a range which showed he had the potential to be the next DiCaprio. But tragically, that journey was cut short far too early in 2016.
Admittedly, Colin Farrell can be very hit (Minority Report, Phone Booth, Fantastic Beasts) or miss (Daredevil, Alexander), but his take as the carnivorous vampire is definitely an example of the former.
He’s charming and seductive, but in a manipulative way that is obvious to his monstrous intentions. You get the sense that he’s so old that toying with his victims like a cat plays with its prey is his only source of entertainment left.
Let’s not forget the incredibly charismatic David Tennant as Peter Vincent. Tennant was fresh off of his starring role on Doctor Who, and his manic energy blended with grim solemnity are really on display here.
It’s really fascinating and compelling to see that beneath all the over the top showmanship, he’s clearly suffering from PTSD following his vampiric experience as a child.
And finally, let’s not forget Toni Collette, who makes the most out of a supporting role, and makes everything she’s in better.
Each of these characters are well rounded enough, and played interestingly enough that they could all be the protagonist in their own movie!
Captures the 80’s Spirit
Any remake must tread lightly, so as not to offend the original. Fright Night was a classic 80’s gem, and in staying faithful and true, this added some more humor, and used it as a way to remind audiences of what a vampire film could be.
Granted, it does kill off Chris Sarandon (which for some fans is unforgivable to the original), but it still manages to be funny without being cheesy, and violent/gory without feeling gratuitous. It was the perfect vampire movie that horror needed in 2011, and there hasn’t been one like it since!