At least that was my initial thought, but as usual, I came to realize such laziness on the part of Hollywood wasn't going to harm the original material in any meaningful way. It'll still continue to exist and hold a special place. Sure, some idiot kids might catch this remake and think it's the best thing since Platinum Dunes, but that's other people and their tastes which ultimately have no bearing. Instead of tarnishing my fondness, this well-intentioned modern update of Fright Night actually made me even more appreciative of the many qualities the mid-'80s classic still carries to this day. Literally everything that the 1985 film does so well is quite simply turned to shit here.
Like the majority of mainstream horror that manages to open wide theatrically, there's a real lack of subtlety and real emotion mixed into an onslaught of terribly-executed CGI. This makes the "stakes" so non-existent; one quickly couldn't care less if Jerry turned the whole damn neighborhood into a vampiric army much less root for Anton Yelchin's boring Charley Brewster and his Tinseltown cute girlfriend. Colin Farrell's Dandrige is so monotonous that it's as if he was told his motivation is "handsome new neighbor who's also a vampire." The problem is, unlike Chris Sarandon's increasingly regal and menacing performance, Farrell doesn't imbue Jerry with anything besides being the handsome neighbor who's also a vampire. There's no sense of his status or centuries as a creature of the night. The few times he turns into his true form are dominated by the digital gimmickry we've already seen in the Blade franchise. Same goes for the ashy, human black snake firework vamp flare-ups. Unfortunately, Snipes is still incarcerated sorting through his tax forms.
Christopher Mintz's Ed highlights a lack of emotional weight that Stephen Geoffreys eloquently shouldered. The shades of the original film carried over are shifted around in this remake, like Charley's blow-up with Ed and Ed's subsequent alleyway encounter with Dandrige. This occurs fifteen minutes into Fright Night '11 with their long friendship barely touched upon. Ed has also been tracking Jerry, knows of his secret, and the falling out with Charley happens when presenting him with this revelation. Without words, you can feel the years of quiet rejection and anguish that Geoffreys' Ed endured as a social outsider before submitting to Dandrige. The "death" of Mintz's Ed tries and utterly fails to do the same because we've only known the character for five minutes. What's even dumber is how Charley quickly realizes his friend was right, but doesn't try to seek him out until "Evil" Ed makes a typical surprise re-appearance later on.
Roddy McDowall makes David Tennant look like community theater regular. There's something really exciting seeing McDowall's Peter Vincent transform from screen to real vampire killer. A sort of self-actualization of the most unlikely order. The remake's change in the character to a Criss Angel-like "performance artist" heaves that possibility out the nearest window. There's some rumblings of the new Vincent being the victim of a childhood attack by Jerry; however, it's undersold and half-baked. In a reference to the original, Farrell's Jerry says "Welcome to fright night, for real" but that means jackshit here without the original Vincent's Fright Night horror flick double feature. And needless to say, McDowall's fearful sympathy toward the dying Ed single-handedly has more power than this entire popcorn re-imagining.
There's a lot of little irritating things in Fright Night '11. Right before Jerry "moves in" next door, the previous family suddenly disappears and no one questions anything. Upon not being allowed into Charley's house, Jerry proceeds to ignite the natural gas line and blow up the place. No cops, fire department, and none of the neighbors mere feet away show up or question anything. Not to mention an entire block probably being destroyed by doing such a thing. Immediately afterward, Charley, his girl, and his mom flee in their truck. His mom's reaction to what just happened is stupidly sedate and the angle of her not believing her son's claims of a vampiric Jerry are still played up despite their house being a burning husk. Huh? What the fuck is this thoroughly unfunny and heartless trash? Hopefully the box office revenue is all that's needed to stop another such waste. I'm done and need to watch the original ASAP.