Fright Night Blu-ray Review
Hitchcock, Hughes and Hammer all rolled into one.
Trading in classic tropes from all the best horror/suspense films that came before it, Fright Night treads a fine line between genuine thrills and outright parody.Before the committed but not quite as self-aware remake polished things up with modern effects, this thirty-plus year old teen horror/thriller managed to do an exceptional job at delivering knowing suspense thrills, and warm teen coming-of-age comedy, all wrapped up in a feature that's played straight down the line by all of those involved. The premise of a young hero who suspects something about his neighbour's potentially homicidal behaviour - but can't get anybody else to believe him - is something you'd expect more from an Alfred Hitchcock thriller like Rear Window, whilst the teen interaction is more like something out of any John Hughes movie from the era.Indeed the vampiric twists and turns attached to the narrative gel surprisingly well, and give it a refreshingly fresh feel, updating the then-almost outdated genre with an early incarnation of pop culture referencing. Were it not so gamely self-aware (never more obviously than in Roddy McDowall's failed TV show vampire hunter), it would likely be regarded as a fully-fledged revisionist vampire horror, but instead it's one of those rare beasts from the era that juggles a number of different genres - none of which you'd expect to work together - to surprisingly good effect. Sure, it's dated around the edges - the music and effects in particular - but it still holds its appeal decades on as a genuine cult classic.
Picture QualityEureka deliver Fright Night to UK Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with an excellent 4K restoration, leaving us a very impressive 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation, framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen.
US distributor Twilight Time hasn't had much luck with the 4K restoration for its two stateside Blu-ray releases, both of which have received mixed reviews when it comes to the video presentation. Whilst no direct comparison has been made here, and whilst it would be difficult to believe that a further 4K restoration was commissioned specifically for this new Eureka release, it's also hard to see what people would complain about with this restoration - it looks great.
It's hard to see what people would complain about with this restoration - it looks great
Everything is here that you'd want from a faithful restoration, excellent detail but not at the expense of a suitably textured sheen of grain; strong black levels teeming with shadow detail but no painful enjoyment-diminishing signs of crush; decent primaries popping but otherwise faithful adherence to the muted period tones. Sure, freeze-frame does it no favours; sure, the grain level fluctuates, particularly in the shadow-bathed final few minutes, and, sure, there is some softness to some shots more than others, but overall it looks great in motion, and really doesn't warrant anything approaching vitriol.
Sound QualityThe audio comes in two different but equally impressive flavours - a stereo LPCM 2.0 track which remains faithful to the original theatrical presentation of the movie, and a remixed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which provides a more atmospheric offering.
The audio comes in two different but equally impressive flavours
The original PCM track is admittedly very good, but there's no reason not to opt for the punchier, more immersive DTS-HD MA 5.1 counterpart, which has a more noticeably dynamic range and trades with better LFE weight, directionality and surround activity - not wholly unexpectedly. Dialogue remains clearly and coherently disseminated across the frontal array, whilst the score - at times reminiscent of similar era films like Scarface in terms of its Moroder-infused beats - makes for an even more atmospheric, albeit dated, experience.
ExtrasEureka have once again gone above and beyond in the extras department, making up for losing Twilight's presumably exclusive Audio Commentaries, with an equally exclusive new 2-hour version of the You're So Cool, Brewster! documentary which is billed as the definitive look behind the making of the film. This is accompanied by a trio of further 2016 Featurettes - What is Fright Night?, Tom Holland: Writing Horror, and Rowdy McDowall: From Apes to Bats, all of which feature Interviews with the cast and crew (obviously archival in some cases).
Eureka have once again gone above and beyond in the extras department
Fear Fest 2, is the Reunion Panel from the 2008 Convention featuring a panel including Holland, Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Stephen Geoffreys, Amanda Bearse, and Jonathan Stark, whilst Shock Till You Drop Present Choicest Cuts is a three-part Interview about the film with Holland and Ryan Turek.
The disc is rounded off by a Gallery and some Trailers, and the package includes Eureka's usual, impressive, Booklet, and comes available in both a Standard Dual-Edition (Blu-ray and DVD) Amaray, and a Limited Dual-Edition Steelbook.
Blu-ray VerdictFright Night still holds its appeal decades on as a genuine cult classic
The Blu-ray release is equally as impressive, with an excellent 4K scan forming the foundation for great video, and very good audio options, as well as a boat-load of extra features, some exclusive to this release (although we lose the audio commentaries), fans may well consider this the definitive edition of the film. Recommended.
You can buy Fright Night on Blu-ray here
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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