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Movie Review

Fright Night

MPAA Rating: R for bloody horror violence, and language including some sexual references.

Reviewed by: Liz Watkins

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Comedy Horror Thriller Remake
1 hr. 46 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
August 19, 2011 (wide—3,114+ theaters)
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, DreamWorks Pictures

humility vs. excessive pride

sexual predator

death in the Bible

final judgment

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Featuring: Colin FarrellJerry Dandrige
Toni ColletteJane Brewster
David TennantPeter Vincent
Anton YelchinCharley Brewster
Christopher Mintz-Plasse‘Evil’ Ed Thompson
Dave Franco … Mark
Imogen PootsAmy Peterson
more »
Director: Craig Gillespie
Producer: Albuquerque Studios
DreamWorks SKG
more »
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“You can’t run from evil when it lives next door.”

This movie is a remake of the 1985 “Fright Night” which has become a horror-comedy cult classic over the years.

Senior Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) has finally become one of the cool kids at school when he starts dating one of the most popular girls, Amy (Imogen Poots). Charlie neglects his former best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who becomes aware that several students are missing from their high school. Charlie is skeptical at first, but he and Ed discover that the missing students correlate with the appearance of Charlie’s new next door neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell). Charlie realizes that Jerry is a vampire, and Jerry knows that Charlie has figured out his secret. Charlie enlists the help of vampire expert Peter Vincent (David Tennant) to stop Jerry before Charlie and his family and friends become the next victims.

I remembered enjoying the original “Fright Night” as a teenager. I re-watched the 1985 movie before viewing the remake, only to realize that I must have always watched it before only on edited television, because I only remembered the humor, not the nudity and violence it contained.

While the remake avoids direct nudity, the sexual content is overt in sexual innuendo and scantily clad women. One woman is even shown in thong underwear that leaves little to the imagination, and it is implied that she has been having sex. The main characters of the movie are portrayed as teenagers, and they continuously use coarse and disrespectful language. Most of them, including the main character of Charlie, seem to have nothing but sex on the brain. There are no consequences shown that come along with the sexual or disrespectful behaviors. The movie also goes over the top on language and violence, like most modern horror films.

The acting is quite good. I especially enjoyed David Tennant (former Doctor Who) as Peter Vincent. Without giving too much away, he plays two very different characters in the movie. I did view this movie in 3D, and there was nothing spectacular about it, aside from a few good scare moments the 3D enhanced.

If you are a fan of the original, there are a few differences in this version. Ed is the one who first becomes aware that Jerry is a vampire, instead of Charlie, and Ed tries to convince him, instead of the other way around. David Tennant’s Peter Vincent is younger and is more of a Criss Angel-like punk character. The ending is also very different. Fans of the original will recognize the original Jerry, Chris Sarandon, in a brief cameo.

It is a fun, bloody ride of a movie that has many laughs and scares. While this movie is a good example of the much neglected horror-comedy genre, I do not feel that it is quite on par with the original or other great examples such as “Evil Dead II” or “Shaun of the Dead.”

But, overall, I cannot recommend this movie for Christian viewers. Verses about guarding our hearts and minds against the evil of world came to my mind as I viewed this film (see Colossians 3:5, Proverbs 4:23, Romans 12:2, for examples). I was also a little disturbed by the fact that this movie was a distribution of Walt Disney Studios. While it may not be as bad as some of the movies available today, it is void of any wholesome moral attributes.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme (“Jesus Christ” twice, GD, OMG, and “Jesus” each used at least once, f-words—35+, and many other vulgar words and terms) / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

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Movie Critics

“…Subprime bloodsucking in sin city… mildly entertaining with some fun performances… Though it’s full of repressed eroticism, the movie has less nudity and fewer overt sexual situations than the original, made more than 25 years ago. …”
—Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail

“…tongue-in-cheek gore. … It won’t ignite the box office, but this teen-targeted effort blends creepiness and comedy with enough chemistry to spark some slow yet steady financial heat. … [3/5]”
—Nick Schager, Boxoffice Magazine

“…offers vampire scares and laughs… likable and fast-moving…”
—Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“…takes its time to scare while vampire Colin Farrell smolders… In a sense, this is another sexy vampire movie. But Farrell does something special with the sexuality: It’s simultaneously omnivorous, dangerous, and a hoot. …”
—Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe

“…lacks original’s bite…”
—James Verniere, The Boston Herald

“…More than 40 f-words and 30 s-words. At least a dozen misuses of God’s and Jesus’ names… another totally unnecessary remake of a merely semipopular pic from decades past. …”
—Bob Hoose, Plugged In

“…Vampire remake sucks… feeble comic one-liners and slow pacing combine for a routine fangfest…”
—Kyle Smith, New York Post

“…slick and gleeful adaptation of the classic Eighties vampire-next-door flick. … [2½/5]”
—Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle

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