Fright Night is the latest in a long line of 1980s horror film to receive a remake. I was able to check out the original (on the big screen) at the Toronto Underground Cinema a little over a month ago and I couldn’t help but compare the two, as I was watching the film.
I can say that I ended up liking both, but the original is still the better film. The new Fright Night seems to trying to take itself a bit more seriously as a horror film and it’s missing some of the more campy bits of the original. The film still has some dark humour throughout, but I probably wouldn’t go as far and describe it as a horror-comedy like the original.
Storywise, the two films are about 75% the same. The remake omits a few characters (including one I sort of missed) and adds others. There is also an entire sequence in this film, which is not at all in the original.
My favourite character from the original was the vampire hunter Peter Vincent, who was played by Roddy McDowall. The character is played by Doctor Who’s David Tennant in the film and while, like the original, he the source of much comic-relief, he both not as prominent and not as charming as McDowall. Same can be said about uber-nerd Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Evil Ed (he’s definitely no Stephen Geoffreys). That said, I did enjoy Colin Farrell as the vampire Jerry, even though CGI monster effects cannot compare to the practical make-up of the original.
While, I have been taking a break from 3D films for most of the summer, I had not choice with Fright Night (even though I got a Tuesday discount). The 3D in the film is a mixed bag really. I thought there were some excellent gimmicky pop-out effects in the film that I enjoyed a great deal. However, on the other hand, this film can be seen as an excellent example of one of 3Ds biggest criticisms. The bulk of the film takes place at night and is dimly lit. Wearing the 3D glasses dims the image even though. The result is many scenes, where not only is it next to impossible to see the 3D effects, but you can barely see the characters. Definitely not a great move for a 3D film.
Overall, I thought that Fright Night was a fairly enjoyable film, but if I was given a choice between the two versions, I would choose the original.