Spooktober Movie Review – Fright Night (1985)

What is Fright Night?

Nobody believes teenager Charley Brewster when he discovers that his suave new neighbor, Jerry Dandrige, is a vampire. So when the bloodsucker starts stalking Charley, he turns to has-been actor Peter Vincent, famed for portraying a ghoul hunter. Unfortunately for the would-be vampire slayers, Dandrige has set his sights on Charley’s girlfriend. Fright Night was directed by Tom Holland and stars Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, and Roddy McDowall. A sequel to Fright Night simply called Fright Night Part 2 was released 3 years after the original. A remake of Fright Night was also released in 2011 starring the late Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Imogen Poots, and David Tennant.

Something immediately attracted me to Fright Night. It’s well-established that I am a sucker for 80s horror movies, there’s something special about them that I always end up loving even if the rest of the movie is garbage. Fright Night has that something special about it and thankfully the rest of the movie is also pretty darn good too. Now I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best 80s movies I’ve ever seen or even one of the best 80s horror movies I’ve ever seen, but it’s still a really good movie nonetheless. What immediately attracted me to Fright Night had to have been its premise and vampires. The premise is an interesting one and I wanted to see how they would adapt it onscreen and obviously, I like vampires, two of my favorite shows of all time featured vampires pretty prominently, to say the least. Vampires are always a cool addition to any horror movie if they’re handled properly in my opinion. And Fright Night more than properly handles vampires. In fact, I think they do a fantastic job portraying the classic archetype of a vampire but also their own unique spin to it.

Chris Sarandon plays the vampire next door and to say that he does a brilliant job would be an understatement. His performance is probably my favorite thing about the movie. Much like the movie itself, his performance is so charming. You fall under his spell almost the second he appears onscreen. It’s easy to see why so many characters are oblivious to his true nature because even us the audience who already know what he really is and yet we are still so attracted to him much like the rest of the unaware characters. I honestly believe the movie rests completely on his performance. The entire movie would have fallen apart if his performance isn’t as captivating as it is. Luckily for the movie and the rest of us, his performance as the vampire next-door is as captivating as any performance could possibly be. You really couldn’t have asked for a better performance.

What I also love about Fright Night is it’s a balance between campiness and also being genuinely scary. It’s not an outright terrifying horror movie. There’s plenty of laughs to have that break the tension in between every scare but the movie does an incredible job balancing the tone. One never feels like it’s overpowering the other. Fright Night perfectly strikes the correct balance you want to have between a movie that’s a horror movie but also could be seen as a comedy. I would definitely recommend Fright Night to anyone that doesn’t necessarily like horror movies that are just plain terrifying but instead likes a balance between a good scare and a good laugh. But above all else, Fright Night is plenty of fun. It neither wants to leave you completely scared or think it’s just all comedy. It simply wants to provide you with a good time and I have to say that’s exactly what I was left having.

Now like I stated before Fright Night isn’t without its flaws. Or maybe flaws isn’t the best word for it, there’s nothing outright bad about Fright Night. But I wasn’t in love with everything that Fright Night did. The characters could be somewhat annoying whenever they fell into making bad decisions because we’re in a horror movie cliché. That could get a little tiresome after a while I have to admit. And another personal pet peeve of mine is the trope of no one believing the main character protagonist whenever they say something unbelievable is happening. I understand why this trope is a thing, it’s makes for good conflict. And it makes complete sense in this movie because the main character doesn’t provide any real proof of his suspicions, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating to watch it play out onscreen. This isn’t an issue that’s uniquely tied to Fright Night several movies and television shows do this but I can’t help but get a little bit annoyed whenever I see it play out in whatever movie or show I’m watching. No matter how much I try to turn my brain off during a fun, but not very serious movie I still couldn’t help but get frustrated at Fright Night falling to some clichés and tropes I never enjoy seeing.

But don’t let those minor quibbles deter you from checking out Fright Night if you haven’t already seen it. Especially if you like horror movies with a comedy twist to them this might be a movie worth checking out. Fright Night has a special charm that sets it apart from any of its other 80s contemporaries. It is still very much a 80s horror movie, but it definitely stands out from the rest of the pack of 80s horror movies you’ve probably already seen. Fright Night also makes for easy watching and a fun time to be had. So if you’re at all interested in watching Fright Night and you haven’t seen it already I promise you will more than likely end up having a great time watching it, so check it out this Halloween.

Have you already seen Fright Night? If you have, tell me what you thought about it down below in the comments.


2 responses to “Spooktober Movie Review – Fright Night (1985)”

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