Fright Night Remake is Certified Fresh!

Ladies and gentlemen, I stand corrected.  In early June, after viewing the first and second theatrical trailers for Craig Gillespie’s remake of the 1985 cult classic Fright Night, I was left severely unimpressed, fearing that one of my favourite ’80s horror-comedies was falling victim to the wave of lackluster modern remakes that have plagued the industry for several years now.  My two initial responses can be found here and here.  Despite my pessimistic outlook (stemming largely from the trailers’ proportional lack of comedy and its seemingly angst-driven tone) I remained hopeful that this new Fright Night would prove me wrong, offering more laughs than its trailers suggested and coming close to replicating that key balance of horror and comedy that made the original so successful and fun to watch.

And it appears that I may indeed have been proven wrong.  While its critical reviews aren’t necessarily as strong as the original film, the new Fright Night has done reasonably well for itself, opening in 5th place at the box office and earning a “certified fresh” rating on rottentomatoes.com with a 74% approval rate from critics.  This is certainly a much better situation than I envisioned back in June, and I remain thankful that the filmmakers appear to have taken what worked best in the original film into consideration for this modern update instead of simply giving it an overly dark “Platinum Dunes” type of treatment (see: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010).  Indeed, several critics make a point of praising the appropriate level of comedy present to counterbalance the scares – something that seemed sorely missing from the trailers.

I won’t know for sure until I see it for myself, but you can rest assured that with all this promising news, I’ll be heading over to the theatre soon and hopefully won’t be disappointed.  Even just knowing that it is possible for an assured and faithful remake in this age of half-assed and uninspired horror filmmaking is a breath of fresh air, and makes me believe that something like Return of the Living Dead – another classic horror-comedy from the same year as the original Fright Night – holds the potential for a strong modern remake as well (and it just might relieve some of the bad taste that’s left over from the crappy attempts at sequels in 2005’s Rave to the Grave and Necropolis).  After all, considering the past decade has been filled with Saw films and several humourless slasher attempts, we could all use a few more laughs with our scares…

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~ by Mark D'Amico on August 22, 2011.

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