‘Fright Night’ - a different horror film (IANS Film Review)

August 20th, 2011 - 3:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “Fright Night”; Director: Craig Gillespie; Cast: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell and David Tennant; Rating: ***

Horror films, since their inception, have focused on scaring the viewers with whatever is at hand: too much blood, gore and violence. One that does not do so, and yet is decent enough to hold your attention, deserves accolades. “Fright Night” is such a film.

Yet, when you sit through the film, its lilting pace seems disconcerting initially. But, surprisingly the film warms up as it literally keeps getting better and grows on you with a very interesting narrative pace for a horror film.

After discovering that his neighbour Jerry (Collin Farrell) is a vampire, teenager Charley (Anton Yelchin) has to find ways to protect his mom and girlfriend from his prying, killing presence. He tries to take help from a TV show host who claims to be an expert vampire killer.

First of all, unlike many horror films, “Fright Night” is in no hurry to scare you. It has a mood of its own, and builds upon its story with a gentle pace. It is actually surprising how the director literally throws away one chance after another to induce a nasty, terrorised chill up your spine, moments that other horror movies would lap up.

For instance, when Charley is finally sure that Jerry is a vampire and the vampire also knows that the kid knows, the confrontation could have been scarier, or when our teenager is in the vampire’s house and he is allowed to simply walk away.

Yes, director Craig Gillespie, who debuted with the quirky little masterpiece “Lars and the Real Girl”, is not looking for cheap thrills. That does not mean it is minus its horrors. If nothing, the special effects in which seemingly hundreds of sharp teeth that emerge from a vampire’s mouth and dig into its victims neck, look scary.

“Fright Night” is refreshingly breezy, unserious and at times even silly. And this combination actually works for the film in a time of gore and excessive special effects.

The original 1985 film of the same name, of which this is a remake, had a simpler story and it had an interestingly balanced combination of humour and horror. This one takes the story, but builds different angles to it. It does lose out on the humour, but the gore and horror has definitely doubled.

Yet, it does not look needlessly self-conscious or pesky like the other recent remakes of ’80s teen horror films like “Elm Street” and “Friday The 13th”.

Collin Farrell is a kind of casting coup for a film like this. And in his own imitable way, he brings in flair to the film.

This is a must watch for the fans of the original and those who prefer a little refinement in their horror films.

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