I have a fractured history with “Fright Night.” I’ve always found it dull and uninspiring, and I’ve been consistently surprised at the positive critical and fan reactions it’s received over the years. However, my buddy wanted to watch it for Halloween this year so we did, and much to my surprise, I found myself getting sucked into it for the first time. I was able to appreciate Chris Sarandon’s menacing, seductive performance as the vampire living next door to William Ragsdale’s Charley, and while Ragsdale isn’t particularly engaging as a performer, at least he’s well-paired with Amanda Bearse and the peculiar Stephen Geoffreys as his girlfriend and best friend, respectively. There are a number of memorable scenes along the way, including an impressively creepy chase scene between Sarandon and Geoffreys in a dark alley, as well as an unexpectedly erotic spark between Sarandon and Bearse in a nightclub scene that delivers the goods. Rounding out the cast is Roddy McDowall, who injects the movie with a dose of old Hollywood class and propriety that’s at odds with the modern feel of the movie but manages to blend in nicely, thanks to McDowall’s general likability. It’s definitely not a masterpiece but there’s plenty to enjoy for fans of horror movies, vampires and just plain fun movies from the 1980s.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)