Review: 'Fright Night' gets some things right, some things wrong in remake formula

There are horror titles that are universally considered part of the canon of the genre, pun fully intended.  The Whale films, Chaney and Lugosi and Karloff, the Hammer films, Val Lewton's work, and many more.  It's a lengthy canon, running from the early nightmarish fever-dream imagery of "The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari" to the freaky body-fearing obsessions of David Cronenberg, and every era is represented on the list in some way.  The '80s had their high points, and I'd immediately name films like "An American Werewolf In London" and "The Thing" and "The Fly" and "Evil Dead 2" as classics from the decade. 

I know plenty of horror fans who would call the original "Fright Night" one of those movies, and while I think it's solid and accomplished in places, I don't think it's one of the greats.  It has personality.  It has its charms.  It is just fine.  It has some clever ideas, and that goes a long way, especially in explaining the urge to add it to the lengthy lists of remakes no one was asking for.

After all, the entire idea of discovering that the person next door is a monster remains a very simple, primal fear that is part of our modern life, a given when it comes to suburbia.  When I moved my family into our house, our next door neighbor was deranged, although it didn't seem like it at first.  It took us a few weeks to really understand just how weird he was, and then thankfully he was removed from the situation before it got bad.  It could have gone another way, though, and we could have found ourselves trapped in a terrible situation with someone living less than 40 feet from where my children sleep.  That's terrifying.  I've made a much greater effort to know who my neighbors are, and one of the most frightening things I've done as part of that was running a search for registered sex offenders in the area.  Thankfully, I think we're in a decent area, but it's scary how many pings we got in surrounding areas when we were house-hunting.  There are a lot of scary people out there, and someone has to be living next door to them. Read More...


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