May 13, 2011


When you remake a movie that almost every horror fan loves, you’re playing with fire and it’s almost impossible not get burned.  After all, if you stick too close to the original, people will say, “why did you remake it.”  And if you decide to change too much, fans will complain about what was left out.  However, after watching twenty minutes of director Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night remake in his editing suite last week, I’m very confident he’s walking the fine line that will make the large majority very happy.  More about the footage after the jump and here’s the just released trailer.

fright-night-3d-poster-01While I know a large majority have seen the original Fright Night, for those that haven’t, here’s the synopsis for the remake:

Senior Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) finally has it all going on: he’s running with the popular crowd and dating the most coveted girl in his high school. In fact, he’s so cool he’s even dissing his best friend. But trouble arrives when Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. He seems like a great guy at first, but there’s something not quite right—but everyone, including Charlie’s mom (Toni Collette), doesn’t notice. After observing some very strange activity, Charlie comes to an unmistakable conclusion: Jerry is a vampire preying on the neighborhood. Unable to convince anyone, Charlie has to find a way to get rid of the monster himself in this Craig Gillespie-helmed revamp of the comedy-horror classic.  Fright Night also stars David Tennant (as Peter Vincent) and Imogen Poots (as Charley’s girlfriend Amy).

Based on what I know, the movie is very close to the original, but it definitely has some tweaks and alterations.

While I’ve done a few edit bay visits, this was the first one where I had to wear 3D glasses to see the footage.  And unlike some of the 3D movies I’ve seen recently that have been post converted and looked terrible, the 3D Fright Night footage looked great.  Of course Fright Night was shot in 3D, so it’s not surprising.  The thing to know is…this is one of those movies that’s actually going to be worth seeing in 3D.

But back to the footage.

fright-night-movie-image-anton-yelchin-toni-collette-01We saw four scenes on a large monitor in the editing room.   The first featured Yelchin (Charley) and Farrell (Jerry) meeting each other on the street and then going over to Charley’s house to borrow some beer.  It’s a little bit into the movie when Charley is starting to suspect Jerry might be a vampire.  As Yelchin is at the fridge gathering a six pack, Farrell’s talking about Yelchin’s girlfriend and standing in the door way.  He’s clearly waiting to be invited in, but at the same time, he’s saying things to get a reaction from Charley.  He’s trying to feel him out.  Farrell plays the scene great as he’s a mixture of creepy and evil.

The second scene is further into the movie and it featured Yelchin breaking into Farrell’s house.  We see him searching.  He’s looking for clues to help him prove Jerry is a vampire.  As he searches in an upstairs room, he finds a secret passage in a closet which leads him into a long hallway with locked doors.  I should mention the closet was filled with uniforms (police, fire, etc) for when Jerry wants to go hunting.

As Yelchin walks down the prison type hallway, he discovers one of the rooms has someone he knows trapped inside.  As he tries to rescue her, Farrell has returned home and he makes his way to the same hallway.  To stay alive, Yelchin makes it into another of the rooms and he’s able to watch as Farrell uses the girl to take a drink.  As he’s doing this, the girl motions to Yelchin to stay quiet.  It’s a creepy and effective scene.  You can see part of it in the trailer.

fright-night-movie-image-david-tennant-01From there, the next scene we were shown was the first footage of David Tennant as Peter Vincent.  While I’d seen images of Tennant as the character, this was my first time seeing any footage (It should be noted that in the original Fright Night, Vincent was an elderly late night horror host while the remake has him as a successful Vegas magician).  In the scene, Yelchin pretends to be a reporter who wants to interview Tennant and as he watches Tennant get undressed (he takes off his wig and goatee), he starts asking him questions about vampires and how to kill them.  Tennant’s look was pretty cool.

The final scene of the day was something I’d already seen at CinemaCon and it’s a great one.  At the beginning, Imogen Poots (as Charley’s girlfriend Amy) is downstairs in Yelchin’s home and she’s telling him that although he’s acting weird, she still wants to be there for him.  While they’re talking, Charlie’s mom (Toni Collette) is listening in from the top of the stairs.  As Poots and Yelchin are talking, he’s holding a stake and she calls him on it.  He’s really trying to distance himself to save her, but she doesn’t understand what’s really going on.

Cut to a knock at the door.

fright-night-colin-farrell-image-4Farrell is trying to get invited in the house and he’s saying he will go to the police unless they can work out their issues right now.  He claims that Yelchin has broken into his house and is acting weird.  Yelchin is freaking out.  He knows if Farrell gets invited in they’re all dead.  He begs his mom to not let him in.  After a few moments, she tells Farrell to call the police.  While you’d think Farrell would walk away and not try to draw and unnecessary attention to himself, he doesn’t care.  We then see Farrell walking to the back of the house and we cut to Yelchin saying, “This isn’t good.”  Since I don’t want to spoil what happens next (but it’s in the trailer), let’s just say Farrell has figured out a way to get everyone outside and we’re now driving on a long stretch of highway with Collette driving and Yelchin in the front passenger seat with Poots in the backseat.

While all the stuff I’d seen in the editing room looked cool, the car sequence was easily the best part of the day.  As most of you know, the longer you hold a shot, the harder it is to pull off, which is why this car stuff was so awesome.  Instead of constructing a scene made up of 50 or more shots, we watched the entire scene play out in one long take.  Even though you might think that would be impossible to pull off, with the smart use of technology and a lot of pre-planning, it was a seamless trick.  It also added a lot of tension to the scene.

fright-night-colin-farrell-image-3Again, while I don’t want to spoil the entire scene, let’s just say Farrell is after them and by the end, he’s revealed more of what he looks like as a vampire.  Trust me, it’s an awesome scene and it looked fantastic in 3D.

Final Thoughts

If you were nervous the Fright Night remake might disparage the original, I’m here to reassure you it won’t.  Based on what I’ve seen and what I know about the remake, I’m very optimistic director Craig Gillespie has crafted a solid vampire movie.  With a release date of this August, you won’t have to wait too long to see it for yourself.  Look for interviews with the cast in a few.

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