Saturday, April 1, 2017

Colin Farrell vs. Doctor Who, or Thoughts on The Fright Night Remake

The 2011 Fright Night remake is so much better than it has any right to be, thanks to smart casting decisions and a clever, R-rated script update by Marti Noxon, the writer and producer of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV series.  All the characters are back, Charley is portrayed by Anton Yelchin, his girlfriend Amy gets a super model upgrade with British actress Imogen Poots from 28 Weeks Later (2008), and even Charley’s single mom/realtor is played by Toni Collette.  There’s a scene where Charley helps his mom with some for sales sign on convenient sharpened wooden stakes that serves as a Chekov’s gun and to remind the audience that they’re watching a vampire movie.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who will have to work hard to get out from under the shadow of McLovin’ in Superbad (2007) is Charley’s childhood friend Ed, alas no longer a New Waver, now a sci-fi movie nerd who connects the dots and discovers that Charley’s new neighbor is a vampire.  And here’s where the upgrades get serious; Colin Farrell is way too big of a star to be in this movie.  The only explanation is he must have loved the 1985 version.  His Jerry Dandridge is a grungey/sexy vampire/cowboy/biker with a dark and malevolent charm that transcends the original version, in the same way that Jeff Goldblum in The Fly (1986) or Kurt Russell in The Thing (1982) successfully carried their remakes into another generation.
The new Fright Night also benefits from the casting of another beloved British cult actor as Peter Vincent, the Tenth Doctor David Tennant.  Peter Vincent is now a Las Vegas magician with an act called Fright Night.  With a cast like that you can’t go wrong, and the remake is one of those rare exceptions that outshines the original.  The only problem is that the success of these films encourages Hollywood to try again, and that’s how we got The Thing (2011) prequel, or Colin Farrell’s Total Recall (2012).
And watch out for Lisa Loeb (dude, Lisa Loeb) as McLovin's mom.  I mean i still prefer 1985 Amy's vampire makeup as opposed to 2011 Amy's green-screened lips, but what can I say, I'm a traditionalist.

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).