Remakes are becoming more and more popular each year. The trend in late 2000s was to take a 1980s horror film and throw a big budget at it. The thinking being that fans of the original are now old enough to get a nostalgia kick, whilst the new generation have proved to be very receptive to horror films at the cinema. The success of films such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Dawn of the Dead have lead to the green light being given to Fright Night, the memorable 1985 shock horror.
Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is a teenage boy, living in Las Vegas, Nevada with an improbably attractive girlfriend and geek-laden past. He is summoned to an old friends house by Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and is told that his new neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) is actually a vampire. After discovering the truth he seeks out occult expert and magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant) for help combating the vampire infestation in his town.
It is important to note that at no point is Fright Night played for anything other than fun. Everything from the bait-and-switch dispelling of vampire-lore to Farrell's fantastic turn as uber-confident seductive vampire Jerry ("What kind of name is Jerry for a vampire?"). It isn't just Farrell who is good though, David Tennant once again shows the kind of charisma that made him one of the most successful Doctor Whos of all time as the preening, cock-sure Vincent.
The plot is standard horror fare with the exposition dealt with in the first half to allow the action and explosions in the second half. Sadly the pacing is not handled particularly well and you'll feel a little bored about two thirds of the way through with the constant stop-start nature of the action. Luckily the scenes in early part of the film are suitably creepy and the director was clearly aware that 3D works well with horror and has some nice touches like crucifixes being thrown at the screen.
There is a real sense that the film-makers are fans of the original, with obvious homages to Rear Window, Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror, unfortunately it rarely excels in anything other than the casting, which in the end leaves Fright Night as a by-the-numbers horror that teenagers will enjoy, but few will remember in a years time. Still, Tennant and Farrell are both excellent and worth price of admission alone.
Rating: * * *
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