Pros:Fun, entertaining vampire movie.
Cons:Campy and corny at times. Some bad acting in spots.
The Bottom Line: Fright Night was a bit corny, but it still managed to be a very entertaining vampire movie.
I think that vampire movies can be very entertaining when they have good plots. I recently watched Fright Night again, an older vampire movie that I still enjoy.
Teenager Charley Brewster was a fan of horror movies, especially one that actor Peter Vincent would show during his late night horror movie show Fright Night. One night when Charley's girlfriend Amy was over, Charley noticed someone moving into the house next door. He saw what he thought was a coffin being taken into the house, but he decided not to worry about it. Not long after that, Charley noticed other things that convinced him that the new neighbor, Jerry Dandrige, was a vampire. Charley tried to tell others, including his friends, mother and even the police, but no one believed him. By that point, Jerry was aware of what Charley had discovered. Since no one else would help him, Charley decided to turn to Peter Vincent for help while Jerry seemed to be targeting Amy.
I thought that Fright Night was a very entertaining vampire movie even though it does look a bit dated now. People that enjoy movies about vampires should give it a chance. The plot was fairly simple, but it was still very interesting and entertaining. I did think that certain things that happened were predictable, which might disappoint some viewers. I also thought a few of the things that happened were a bit corny, but I thought they worked for the movie.
Most of the vampire movies that I've seen have shared some similarities. Fright Night was no different in that regard. Jerry was shown to be very attractive to women who all but drooled when they saw him. He slept in a coffin during the day and cast no reflection in mirrors. Holy water, crosses, and wooden stakes were things mentioned that could be used against vampires. The movie really didn't add anything new or different connected to vampires, though they did look a bit different at times. When Jerry was first shown as a vampire, just about the only thing that changed about his appearance was the addition of fangs. His fingers also got longer. One character was turned into a vampire during the movie. That character's appearance kept deteriorating and his teeth looked very weird, sort of like all of them had gotten bigger. Jerry ended up with a rather strange look by the end of the movie that was much more monestrous looking. Another character was shown changing after being bitten. There was a dramatic change in the appearance of that character, with the final look being a bit extreme and even slightly corny. This movie did end up having some of the more unique vampires that I've seen in movies.
Fright Night had some violence throughout it. The violence seemed a bit tame compared to what turns up in newer movies, so I didn't think the violence was excessive or overly graphic. The movie was rated R. I'm thinking that if the movie was made now, it would rated PG-13 instead. The violence was connected to Jerry or one of the other vampires in some way. Peter did deal with one new vampire at one point in a sequence that was a bit gory. Blood was shown in several scenes and some scenes did include things that were rather gross to see. Some viewers could be bothered by those things. This really isn't a movie for young children.
Charley and Amy were making out the first time they were shown. They were just shown kissing and nothing else happened even though Amy did take her shirt off. There were other sexual situations later in the movie without there being any actual sex scenes. At one point, Charley saw Jerry with a woman though a window and it was very clear that they were going to have sex even though that wasn't shown. The woman's bare breasts were briefly shown and that was it for nudity in the movie.
Once Jerry saw Amy, he seemed to become obsessed with her. He was determined to get to her and the two ended up sharing a few very suggestive moments. That aspect of the plot wasn't as believable. Jerry had obviously been older when he became a vampire. During however many years he was a vampire, he was able to have his pick of women, so it seemed a bit odd and out of place that he would focus in on Amy, a teenager who didn't seem to be that sexual or attractive. I probably would have found that element of the movie more believable if someone else had been cast as Amy.
Charley was a teenager hoping to have sex with his girlfriend who was also a huge fan of horror movies. He saw things that convinced him that his new neighbor was a vampire and he was determined to convince people even though everyone seemed to think he was imagining things. Charley was a good kid overall. William Ragsdale was fine, though he did have a tendency to over emote at times. Amy was concerned about Charley, but wouldn't believe what was going on at first. Amanda Bearse wasn't that great in the part. I think someone else, though I'm sure exactly who, would have been better in the part. I just found Bearse to be irritating in many of her scenes. Charley's mother Judy was only barely in the movie so Dorothy Fielding didn't have much to do.
Ed Thompson was one of Charley and Amy's friends who also knew a lot about vampires. They called him Evil Ed. Charley first turned to him for advice on dealing with vampires, though Ed didn't believe his friend. Stephen Geoffreys was fine, though nothing special in the part. Peter Vincent had been an actor in many older vampire movies that Charley had watched. It seemed like Peter had always played a vampire killer in those movies, which is why Charley went to him for help. Peter's movie career wasn't going well and he was hosting a late night movie show called Fright Night during which he continued to act like a vampire hunter during his segments. Roddy McDowall was really good in the part.
Jerry was the suave, elegant looking man who moved in next door to Charley. Jerry turned out to be a vampire who would seduce women to make them willing victims. He seemed nice enough to most people, but he wasn't happy about Charley figuring out the truth. Chris Sarandon was really good in the part. A few other characters turned up here and there without any of them being that developed or important to what was going on.
Amanda Bearse - Amy
Dorothy Fielding - Judy Brewster
Stephen Geoffreys - Evil Ed
Roddy McDowall - Peter Vincent
William Ragsdale - Charley Brewster
Chris Sarandon - Jerry Dandrige
Tom Holland - Director
I picked up Fright Night on DVD last year. The copy I have has the widescreen version of the movie. I'm not sure if there is also a full screen version available. There are no extras included and I haven't seen any other DVD releases of the movie with extras.
Fright Night had a few problems with acting and being corny at times, but it was still a very entertaining vampire movie that deserves to be seen. People that like vampire movies should give it a chance.
This review is part of CaptainD's 2008 Good Movie Write Off.
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