I clearly remember seeing Fright Night for the first time. It was so very grand and full of 80's horror greatness:the nerdy hero with an even nerdier best friend, the beautiful girl who stands by her man at all costs and, best of all, the ridiculously handsome, charming and undeniably irresistible vampire next door. As a quadruple bonus: Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent. Yes, Fright Night is a prime example of horror in the 80's. So, of course, a remake was inevitable and, as usual, people were not very excited about it.
The 2011 version of the film is a thousand times more slick, in a good way, less cheesy and takes itself just seriously enough. It takes place in Las Vegas which is, really, quite clever. There are no "normal" hours kept in Nevada and you never think twice if you see a house with the windows blacked out. Colin Farrell as Jerry The Vampire is, in a word, brilliant.("Jerry" as a vampire name is still a really great joke that is referenced a few times.) Farrell has that specific kind of sexiness that we always assume vampires possess and he just looks like he's having a great time with the role. In fact, it feels as if everyone involved was having a great time in this movie. Anton Yelchin plays Charley Brewster with just the right amount of nerdy awkwardness and believable inner tough guy when it comes time to battle Jerry. David Tennant takes on the role of Peter Vincent who, in this version, has a successful Vegas magic/vampire casino show. Tennant is especially hilarious playing a jaded "celebrity" who is no longer amused by himself or anyone else around him.
Overall, Fright Night 2011 is a shiny upgrade that isn't trying to be better than it's predecessor; just newer with an updated sense of humor and a reflection of our more cynical society. It's just a vampire movie with all of the expected and cherished vampire story clichés. This remake knows its place and I think that's why it succeeds. I dare say that I like this version better than the 1985 original simply because it's winking sense of humor is an addition and not a distraction or cheap ploy at self aware outlandishness.