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Film / Fright Night (2011)

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One bad neighbor can kill the whole block.

"You can't run from evil when it lives next door."

Fright Night (2011) is a remake of the cult 1985 horror-comedy hit, directed by Craig Gillespie and starring Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, David Tennant, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. It drops the Peter Vincent Becoming the Mask story and turns Charley into a Buffy-type character, with Jerry resembling both Spike (suave and cool) and Angelus (loves to kill and psychologically torture his victims), and Peter as a Las Vegas showman instead of a former actor.

Despite under-performing at the box office, the film has turned out to be a critical success.

In late 2012, a direct-to-video sequel was announced under a different studio to be shot in Romania. It was later announced that the sequel, Fright Night 2: New Blood, would be a remake of the original film (and remake of the remake) with Charley, Amy, Peter, and "Evil" Ed coming back, with Jerry Gender Flipped as a woman named Gerri, played by Jaime Murray.

This was Disney's last theatrically released live-action horror film until Ready or Not (2019).

The film features the following tropes:

  • Action Survivor: Peter, as a child, hid and then ran away while Jerry was busy eating his parents. When Evil Ed shows up, he repeats his action.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: In the original, Ed is a cackling, wisecracking weirdo, making his moniker "Evil Ed" fitting. In the remake, he's more of a traditional "dweeb" as well as much more serious, and he only becomes in line with his original characterization as a vampire.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Charley goes from being the Action Survivor to a slayer who gets his own Lock-and-Load Montage.
    • Even Amy and Charley's mom are upgraded; the former uses a flail and silver bullets, and the latter uses a realtor sign as a stake.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While Jerry is again the Big Bad, the remake removes all traces of the sublimated humanity he pointedly displays in the original. Ed outright states in the beginning that Jerry has no tortured, sympathetic depths like all those fictional vampires.
  • Affably Evil: Jerry. He even continues to act casual and make small talk while attacking his prey. May border on Faux Affably Evil, but we're given little reason to believe this isn't his true personality.
  • All Is Well That Ends Well: Peter lost his girlfriend, but that's okay! We have proof and a whole group of witnesses/victims who can prove vampires exist.
  • Asshole Victim: Mark, the Jerk Jock who goes out of his way to torment Ed at every possible opportunity.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Peter and Ginger have some highly entertaining friendly bickering. Her death is the final push that Peter needs to stop hiding and start fighting.
    • Same for Charley and Ed, as Charley looks devastated after he's forced to stake Ed.
  • Ax-Crazy: Averted, despite what the poster implies. Jerry is another story, as he slaughters entire families out of simple paranoia, and in the climax openly attacks and kills everyone he comes across.
  • Badass Longcoat: Part of Peter's standard stage attire. He also wears it during the assault on Jerry's house.
  • Big Bad: Once again, Jerry is the head vampire and the one Peter heads to stake to thwart the Evil Plan.
  • Big Eater: Amy, who admits to having an insatiable appetite after asking Charley about dinner before even finishing a smoothie that looks too big to even fit in her stomach.
  • Blackmail: Ed threatens to reveal some awful truths about Charley's past to force Charley to help him investigate Jerry.
  • Car Fu: And a motorcycle.
  • Cassandra Truth: Zigzagged; some will believe the story about the vampires and others don't.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid:
    Peter: I guess I don't want to be a man like me, either.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Peter's collection of relics and weapons come in handy repeatedly over the course of the story.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In order of use:
    1. Charley's mother uses a real estate sign she had from earlier to stake Jerry.
    2. The symbol that Charley photographs, which leads Peter to realize who they are dealing with.
    3. The camera focuses on a revolver in one of Peter's display cases, and Amy tries using it against Jerry later.
    4. When Charley is looking through Ed's notes, he speculates about a stake gun at the bottom of the page, and Peter uses one of his own in the finale.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Jerry takes a little time to tell Charley how to target the heart and stake it, which comes in useful when Vampire!Amy tries to bite him. Staking her off-center gets her off him and lets him save her later on.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Ed has one when he is filming Jerry and believes for a moment that Jerry has seen him.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Despite Charley's fire-retardant clothing, he was burning long enough to feel some extreme pain if not actual burns. The next scene, his bare torso has no traces of trauma.
  • Covers Always Lie: Charley never uses a fire axe in the film, and Jerry never has red eyes.
  • Cowardly Lion: Peter spends a majority of the time going straight into panic mode, but when the chips are down, he finally proves he has a little bit of grit.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Peter has a panic room, guns with silver bullets and chalices kept full of holy water even while in a display case. Justified by all the weapons being part of his private museum of historical monster hunting.
  • Credits Montage: The closing credits include clips from the film.
  • Cross-Melting Aura: It's unclear whether Jerry is able to overcome Charley's cross or is unaffected entirely, but either way, it bursts into flames when he grabs it.
  • Damsel in Distress: As numerous viewers noted, Gender Flipped - it's Amy who saves helpless Charley from Vampire!Ed. With a flail, no less. Unlike in the original movie, she can take care of herself pretty well.
  • Dare to Be Badass:
    • Invoked by Jerry to Charley, when he was speaking to him about his mom and girlfriend. This leads Charley to become a Buffy-type vampire slayer.
    • Also, Charley to Peter. It takes a little while for it to work, but it does!
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Turns out Peter knows full well that vampires are real; he only chooses to ignore it. The reason being that, when he was a child, he witnessed his parents get killed by a vampire: Jerry himself.
  • Deadly Delivery: Vampire!Ed impersonates a delivery guy so he will be invited inside Peter's penthouse and bypass the entry prohibition.
  • Death by Cameo: Chris Sarandon, who played Jerry in the original, is one of Jerry's victims.
  • Decomposite Character: Ed fills pretty much the same role he did in the original, with the added bonus of being the one who gets Charley involved instead of the reverse. However, his personality's been given a radical overhaul to make him more normal and sympathetic, and his over-the-top mannerisms and sneering, jerkish personality have been removed and placed in new character Mark...although Ed manages to get them back when he's a vampire.
  • Determinator: Ed keeps kicking ass even after getting one of his arms taken off.
  • Disappeared Dad: Charley's and in Peter's case, his dad and his mother as well but there is a good reason for that.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Jerry's attacks come off as being reminiscent of sexual assault. Except for his performing a voluntary vampirization on Ed, which looks like a baptism.
    • Typical of most vampire fiction, feeding someone vampire blood is treated as a euphemism for oral sex, only here it's much more blatant as Jerry rears his head back and runs his fingers through Amy's hair as she sucks on his chest wound.
  • Don't Do Anything I Wouldn't Do: Given verbatim by Peter when he leaves Charley and Amy alone in his penthouse so they can have sex.
  • Double Entendre: At the very end, when Charley is about to have sex with Amy, his mom calls and he tells her that he can't talk right now because "something just came up."
  • Double Standard: Charley gets thrown out of a club for being underage. When he tries to alert the bouncer to the fact that Jerry is about to give Amy his blood, the bouncer only notes that the girl who is also clearly underage must be enjoying making out with a much older guy.
  • Dying as Yourself: Implied with Ed and Jerry.
  • Epic Flail: Amy uses one against Vampire!Ed.
  • Evil Gloating: Jerry has Charley right where he can kill him. What does he do? Point out the proper spot to stake a vampire...which Charley didn't know previously. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain.
  • Evil Overlooker: On the poster, Jerry is ominously placed looking over Charley.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Charley misses Amy's heart with a stake.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: The second half of the film happens in less than twelve hours, and the story as a whole is wrapped in three days.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Peter and Charley bond over vampire slaying.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Lampshaded. "Jerry the vampire?!"
  • Game Face: The vampires break these out when they're about to feed.
  • Genre Savvy: Charley, once realizing that he should've taken Ed seriously about Jerry being a vampire, kicks in with crosses and every other anti-vampire tactic he can think of.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: The story starts some time after Amy already gave Charley a chance. He thinks it's because he dropped most of his "geek stuff" and alienated his former friends. She picked him because of his geekiness or, rather, for not being a Jerk Jock.
    Amy: I knew you were a dweeb.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: Just like in the original movie, Amy inexplicably winds up in a white dress when Charley finds her in the basement. It gets extra squicky when you realize that between the scene at the nightclub and the basement, Amy has lost her pants and Jerry's shirt that was buttoned before is now unbuttoned. This implies something might have happened between them before Charley and Peter come to the rescue.
  • Guyliner: Part of Peter's stage look.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Peter hates it, but it's part of his costume.
  • He Will Come For Me: Invoked by Amy. The response is not what she was hoping for.
    Amy: Charley's going to come. He's gonna find me.
    Jerry: I'm counting on it.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Ed, who derisively calls Amy a skank when he's a human, and a bimbo when he's a vampire. A lot of this is due to his jealousy of Charley "dumping" him for her.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Both played straight with holy water and inverted with a cross.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The stake blessed by St. Michael that supposedly restores the target's victims. It works.
  • Homage: Jerry getting Amy to suck blood from a wound in his chest while he grips her hair and arches his head back. This is a scene straight out of Dracula where the titular character forces a woman to drink from a wound in his chest in a similar manner.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Charley and Amy are almost out of the club that is a part of Peter's penthouse complex. Then Jerry shows up and Charley is caught by a bouncer and watches his girlfriend get turned.
    • When Charley realizes Jerry's kidnapped and imprisoned his neighbor Doris, he attempts a daring rescue. In the tensest ten minutes of the film, Charley sneaks in, frees Doris and narrowly escapes Jerry's attention repeatedly before breaking into sunlight for freedom. Except Jerry turned Doris already, and was just toying with the both of them the entire time. Doris bursts into flames in the sun.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: An especially creepy one where Jerry separates Amy from Charley and turns her with a vampire kiss.
  • Implacable Man: Jerry. Try any of the usual safety measures on him, he'll exploit a loophole like it was nothing.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Peter in Jerry's basement.
    Peter: Oh, shit. I may not be drunk enough for this.
  • Instant Expert: Zigzagged. Charley looks up a guide on how to pick locks when trying to break into Jerry's house, but he gives up and looks for a key instead. However, only a little while later, he manages to pick the lock on Doris's cell without consulting the guide again, but it takes him a couple tries and several minutes.
  • I Was Just Joking: Peter's reaction to finding out that Charley had taken his suggestion about setting himself on fire seriously. He suggested setting Jerry on fire, and he was completely serious. He was surprised that Peter took his suggestion after pointing out the obvious flaw in the plan (how do you get close enough to stake a vampire while he's on fire?).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Charley tried to cut off and avoid Ed when he got a hot girlfriend and popular friends, and blew off Ed's concern that Jerry was a vampire...only to discover Ed was right. Guilt and desire to protect his mother and Amy drive him to seek out Peter for help.
    • Peter as well. He starts as a foul-mouthed, alcoholic prima donna who refuses to help Charley even after Jerry killed everyone in the nightclub he lives above. He shows up at the end to help Charley defeat Jerry.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Jerry allows Charley to think his rescue of Doris has been successful, only to have her explode into flames and die as soon as they get out into sunlight, for no other reason than to screw with him.
    • When Jerry reveals that he is the vampire that fed on and murdered Peter's parents. As Peter unsuccessfully tries to shoot him, Jerry says that he has his mother's eyes... and his father's aim.
  • Kill It with Fire: ...and a stake. This is Peter's suggestion on the best way to kill Jerry.
  • Large Ham:
    • Jerry! Which leads to Evil Is Hammy because vampire lords love their drama.
    • David Tennant as Peter Vincent, both on stage and in person when talking with Charley.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Done by Charley before the Final Battle.
  • Logo Joke: Down through the Dreamworks clouds to the town below.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: Peter is constantly exchanging barbs with his girlfriend Ginger. One such exchange has him complaining about her tardiness at work, to which she responds by saying it's better than him being "early in the bedroom", which causes him to rage.
  • Man on Fire: For the final battle, Charley suits up in a fireproof suit drenched in gas and sets himself ablaze in order to burn Jerry.
  • More than Mind Control: Jerry uses this from time to time when he's not using brute force to turn others. He uses a nice mix of old-fashioned manipulation and temptation to pull people under his sway to turn them into vampires. It's implied that the reason Amy didn't resist him when he gave her a vampire kiss was due to a mix of his blood and her secret attraction to him.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The vampires have this going on in their Game Face.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • David Tennant, shirtless and in leather trousers. You're welcome.
    • Colin Farrell shows off his muscular torso on several occasions.
  • Must Be Invited: One of the rules for vampires, which gets in the way of their hunting on several occasions.
    • Jerry makes several attempts to get inside Charley's house, but Charley purposefully resists giving him an invitation. This forces Jerry to take more desperate measures.
    • Ed finds out the hard way that this trope doesn't work if a home has been abandoned.
    • Jerry finds a clever way to defeat this trope by sending Ed in the guise of a delivery man to get invited into Peter's home.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • To the original, among them:
      • Jerry eating an apple.
      • "You've got to have faith."
      • "You're so cool, Brewster!"
      • "Welcome to Fright Night. For real."
      • Amy's Game Face looks like a CGI version of the original Amy's Game Face.
    • To its sequel:
      • The stake gun being similar to the one used in Fright Night II.
      • Charley and Amy being chased by Ed in Peter's lair is extremely similar to a scene in Fright Night II, in which the characters are chased through the library by a werewolf.
  • Nightmare Face: The vampires, but especially Amy.
  • No Time to Explain: Charley tells his mother he doesn't have time to explain a million things to her.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Charley is so wigged out by Jerry bringing Doris into his house that he blows off Amy's advances, much to her irritation.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Charley berates Peter for his refusal to help, but Peter explains that when his parents were killed, the only reason he survived was because he was smart enough to hide...which is exactly what Charley did while Jerry fed on Doris, his first close encounter with a vampire.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Charley reacts this way when he finally manages to get Doris out of Jerry's house, only to have her suddenly turn into ash upon being exposed to sunlight.
    • Peter's face when he realizes Jerry has set him in a room full of new and hungry vampires and lured them out.
  • One-Man Army: Peter is forced into this position in the final battle. Unfortunately for him, Deconstructed - after a brief display of badassery, he ends up on the floor being easily swarmed by vampires.
  • The Oner: Much of the highway chase is filmed as a long take with the camera within the car, moving in between car seats and actors, a la Children of Men.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • They can't enter a house without an invitation though they can find sneaky loopholes like pretending to be delivery boys, cornering people in abandoned buildings, or blowing the place up. They turn humans with a bite, are burned by holy water, and can be turned instantly to dust by a stake to the heart or sunlight.
    • Peter's dialogue, referring to Jerry's lot as a particular "breed," suggests there might be other kinds of vampires out there.
    • When Jerry is finally defeated, black mists leave the turned victims' bodies due to the power of the Stake of St. Michael, indicating that they were being possessed instead of truly turned.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Ed's parents tell Charley he leaves early and have no idea he's missing.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: An odd twist on it, as both special effects and the subject matter have drastically changed since the original. Aside from Peter being a stage magician instead of a horror show host, this version of Jerry revels in being a sexual predator, and Ed's homoerotic vibes toward Charley is so great even he comments on it eventually. Such frank treatment of sexuality would have been unthinkable in the 1985 version.
  • Product Placement:
    • Note how clearly the brand name "Vizio" stands out on the TV in the beginning.
    • Charley gives Jerry Budweiser while name-dropping the brand, though the dialogue suggests that it's not particularly special beer.
    • Chilis
    • Century 21 real estate. Charley's mom works for them, and their signs are all over the neighborhood.
    • Midori-brand liquor, which Peter chugs.
    • When Peter's stake-gun fails: "Oh, fuckin' eBay!"
    • Waste Management's logo is on all trash cans and the dumpster, which are visible quite a lot in the first act.
  • Progressively Prettier: In the original film, Amy is an unexceptional high school girl who suddenly matures into a sexy woman when she turns evil. In the remake, she starts out as a Hollywood knockout whom everyone lampshades as out of Charley's league.
  • Quick Nip: Peter carries a hip flask for this purpose.
  • The Remake: Of Fright Night (1985).
  • Remake Cameo: Chris Sarandon, the original Jerry Dandridge, ends up becoming a snack for the new Jerry.
  • Sequel Hook: Peter notes that Jerry's part of a specific vampire breed.
  • Setting Update: In the original, Peter is a Horror Host, a job that has since become obsolete, so The Remake changes him to a Criss Angel expy and consequently moves the setting to Las Vegas. Ed points out that it makes a very good place for vampires (lots of people work night shift, people move in and out of there all the time).
  • Shout-Out:
    • Peter tells Charley he won't be joining his "Scooby Gang," which could double as a reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • The cardboard cut out that Ed beats up is Jim Raynor.
    • Ed's desktop background is a picture of Fiddlesticks.
    • Charley's mom comments that their house (which has numerous crosses and garlic hung from windows) looks like something out of Dark Shadows.
    • When Peter points a crucifixion nail from his collection at a vampirised Ed, the gesture is exactly the same one the actor would use for the Doctor's sonic screwdriver.
    • Ed compares Jerry to the shark in Jaws and also mentions Farscape.
    • Charley tells Ed that he's read too much Twilight, which Ed finds insulting on multiple levels.
  • Silver Bullet: Amy shoots Jerry with some. They don't work.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: In the remake trailer, Peter is seen for barely a second, with most of the trailer focusing on Charley and Jerry.
  • The Social Darwinist: Jerry comes off like this, when he makes remarks that he's a part of "hundreds of years of evolution."
  • Special Person, Normal Name: Jerry the Vampire.
  • Suburban Gothic: A teenage boy living in suburban Las Vegas realizes that his nextdoor neighbor is a vampire.
  • Suburbia: Most of the movie is set in a new middle-class residential development, a little island of identical houses surrounded by desert. Aerial shots at the beginning emphasize the homogeny of the homes and the banal, wholesome ambiance of the neighborhood.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Characters repeatedly hurt their legs by falling from sizable heights.
  • Take That!: Some of the marketing, and the movie itself, takes a few digs at the Twilight series.
  • Title Drop: As in the original, Fright Night is the name of Peter Vincent's show. Jerry also gets a chance to say it as well.
  • Trademark Favorite Drink: Peter and his Midori. We never see him drinking anything else. He even uses it to clean his fake tattoo.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The scene where Jerry blows up the Brewsters' house is one of the main set pieces featured in the trailers.
    • Poster ads in Asia would often spoiler the vampire Game Faces, added to the bottom corner, as if they were afraid people would think it's that kind of vampire movie.
  • Underside Ride: Jerry, after the heroes try to run him over.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Charley has a broad knowledge of every known substance that's supposed to repel and kill vampires in fiction, Jerry laughingly shrugs off every attempt. He learns the hard way that, among other things, you need to hit the heart for a stake to work, and you have to have faith for holy symbols to be a real deterrent. Otherwise, he can quickly grab it and toss it away. We also never see Jerry's reaction to garlic.
    • Also happens with Amy when she tries shooting silver bullets at Jerry. As he happily informs her, that only hurts werewolves. She follows it up with holy water, which does hurt vampires.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Some of the victims get their throats torn out bloodily. Others get the classic bite and suck.
  • You Killed My Father: Jerry killed Peter's parents.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Ed takes great offense when Charley accuses him of reading Twilight.