7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A surprisingly impressive, entertaining vampire flick,
This review is from: Fright Night [DVD] (DVD)
At first glance, Fright Night looks like another cheesy vampire film: a young man figures out that a vampire has moved next door, no one believes him, the vampire comes after him, his only hope is an old horror actor, etc. It's pretty predictable, right down to the whole thing about the boy's girlfriend bearing a striking resemblance to one of the vampire's old flames. So yes, in its own way, Fright Night is cheesy. At the same time, though, it is oh so much more than you would expect - an entertaining, somewhat creepy vampire film that features some great acting and some really impressive special effects. You expect to see really bad, noticeably cheap special effects in a film like this, but Fright Night hits a home run in this department.
William Ragsdale plays Charley Brewster, a typical horror-loving kid who just so happens to find out that his new neighbor is a vampire - naturally, no one believes him, including his friend Evil Ed (Stephen Geoffreys in a truly annoying performance) and his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse, who went on to play Marcie on Married With Children). For some reason, Charley decides to be open about his suspicions, thus letting the vampire know that he knows his little secret - not a smart move, as Charley soon learns courtesy of a little visit from the new guy in town. This vampire, I must say, looks nothing like your typical Count Dracula; he actually looks like a reject from Dance Fever, making it a little hard for me to take him seriously (although the threat of "Deney Terrio" busting out some disco moves in the film's one night club scene certainly had me feeling uneasy). In desperation, Charley goes to the only man he thinks can help him - Peter Vincent, Vampire Killer (Roddy McDowall). Vincent killed many a vampire - in the movies - and he is now the local host of Fright Night, a late-night horror show. As you might expect, Vincent doesn't really believe in vampires and, once he sees that Charley is telling him the truth, he isn't too anxious to fight them, either. McDowall is really great in this movie; he is the lynchpin upon which most of the movie's success depends.
I can't say enough about the special effects, especially those in the film's climactic moments. As a horror fan, I really appreciate the filmmakers spending the time and money to give me such an impressive show. The plot features a number of clichés as well as a couple of "oldest tricks in the book," but the inspired performance of Roddy McDowell combined with the fantastic special effects leads me to bump my rating up from four to five stars. This probably won't be the best vampire film you've ever seen, but I am sure that fans of the genre will not fail to get quick a kick out of Fright Night.