Review: Fright Night (2011)

Director: Craig Gillespie

***

Was a remake of Fright Night inevitable? Not that the original wasn’t a jittery little gem but, apart from being a little dated, the idea of having a persistent vampire threat in the neighbourhood hasn’t been done properly since ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. Those accursed Twilight movies have ruined the vampiric image; Fright Night has come along at the right time to restore at least a little of the vampire’s bite.

A vampire next door? It’s a wonderfully simple pitch. Charley (Anton Yelchin), is told by his friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, the nerd du jour) that Charley’s new neighbour may be a vampire. Charley isn’t convinced, not least because his new neighbour (Colin Farrell) is named Jerry. Whoever heard of a vampire named Jerry?! Still, when friends and neighbours start disappearing, Charley starts to fear what Ed told him is true. Surrounding his mother Jane (Toni Collette) and girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) with garlic and crucifixes, Charley resolves to off this neighbour from hell once and for all. Even if this wasn’t a remake, there’s not much new in this set-up. Yelchin is a passable everyman, though Mintz-Plasse’s character is expendable, whilst Collette and Poots are likeable in undemanding roles. Farrell has fun with his part, all menacing smolder and flashing his gnashers before tucking into a fresh neck. Best of all is David Tennant as Peter Vincent, a Las Vegas showman-cum-vampire expert who looks like Russell Brand’s bastard spawn. With a confident swagger and a pair of too-tight leather pants, he steals every scene he’s in. Fans and purists would argue that there’s not a whole lot to steal; this is another horror remake in a sea of remakes, and the original still boasts a certain eerie charm. Yet, Fright Night overcomes its potential redundancy with one word: fun. This is a giddy little romp, as director Craig Gillespie keeps the blood flowing and writer Marti Noxon keeps bringing the laughs. The cast have a blast, and invite the audience to do the same. This is prime Friday night viewing. It won’t linger long past the end credits, but Fright Night provides thrills aplenty without troubling the nightmare-averse.

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