Blu-ray Review: Catch Up With Horror Gem ‘Fright Night’

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CHICAGO – Why didn’t more of you see “Fright Night”? Do I have to beg to get enough of you to rent or buy it on Blu-ray to justify a sequel or at the very least to prove that intelligent, fast-paced, clever horror like this has an audience? Seriously? As a horror junkie, it’s often more disheartening when a quality genre film bombs than when a crappy one takes off. The latter scenario happens all the time but we only get a few quality flicks a year and I hate it when they fall flat like “Fright Night.” Horror fans, and even those of you who might not accept that label, this movie rules. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Perhaps you avoided “Fright Night” purely out of respect for the cult classic original. I get that. 2011 was a ridiculous year for remakes with do-overs on “Footloose,” “The Thing,” “Straw Dogs,” and “Conan the Barbarian” all refusing to justify their existence. So I get why you might have been cautious about “Fright Night.” I was too. And horror fans are particularly burned given the abominable treatment of “Halloween,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Friday the 13th,” and “Nightmare on Elm Street.” “Fright Night” is so much better than every other mentioned in this paragraph and further proof that we shouldn’t give up on remakes just because they fall into a genre overcrowded with junk. There can still be a gem in the pile.

Fright Night
Fright Night
Photo credit: Touchstone

The plot synopsis from my theatrical review:

Fright Night was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 13th, 2011
Fright Night was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 13th, 2011
Photo credit: Touchstone

“The concept of “Fright Night” is devilishly simple – what if pure evil moved in next door? How do you avoid your neighbor, especially after you know he’s a supernatural killing machine and he’s wiping out your classmates? It’s a question forced upon Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) after his friends start disappearing and the guy who lives 20 feet away starts acting more and more suspicious. His old buddy Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a D&D-loving young man whom Charley has discarded in favor of the cool kids, begs his former L.A.R.P. partner to believe him when he says a vampire has descended on their Las Vegas ‘burb. Of course, Charley doesn’t heed the warnings until it’s too late for dear Ed.

Before he knows it, Charley is spying on his neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell) and warning his mother Jane (Toni Collette) to never invite the charismatic stranger into their house. Can he protect his gorgeous girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) from the smooth-talking bloodsucker? And can the Criss Angel-esque Vegas magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant of “Dr. Who”) live up to his stage persona and help Charley save his family and friends?

“Fright Night” is a refreshingly simple vampire tale – good guy in one house, bad guy next door. In fact, it’s so uncluttered with subplots and secondary characters that it’s likely to throw off modern audiences accustomed to twist endings and comic relief. Marti Noxon’s screenplay is a thing of beauty, one that perfectly blends the core foundation of its source with the smart level of dialogue and plot structuring that she brought to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” “Fright Night” is a wonderfully focused film from its opening kill to its clever finale. Unlike so many of its peers, it wastes no time and works like the lean, thrill-producing machine it needed to be to succeed.”

I wish that the Blu-ray for “Fright Night” lived up to the movie. There’s no commentary track and the behind-the-scenes material is thin. Even the deleted scenes are a let-down and the typically-great Kid Cudi delivers a lackluster track. It’s just the movie. But since most of you haven’t seen it, that should be enough.

Special Features:
o Peter Vincent: Come Swim In My Mind
o The Official How To Make A Funny Vampire Movie Guide
o Bloopers Kid Cudi “No One Believes Me” Music Video (Uncensored Version)
o Squid Man - Extended & Cut

“Fright Night” stars Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and David Tennant. It was written by Marti Noxon and directed by Craig Gillespie. It is rated R and was released on DVD and Blu-ray December 13th, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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