Horror review: Fright Night

fright-night

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, AUG. 18, 2011

I totally enjoyed the original Fright Night when it was released back in 1985. Chris Sarandon was ideal as playboy vampire Jerry Dandrige, who moves in next door to monster-loving teenager Charley Brewster and starts nipping at his family and friends, including nerdy fanboy “Evil” Ed, until Charley is forced to seek the help of washed-up horror actor, cheesy TV host, and reputed vampire killer Peter Vincent (the typically awesome Roddy McDowall).

It was deftly directed by Tom Holland—who’d strike horror gold three years later with Child’s Play—and sported freaky enough undead FX by makeup ace Steve Johnson to make it a fave among the Fangoria set.

Too bad the new remake is such a bloody mess. And not in a good way.

This time around, swarthy bloodsucker Jerry is played by Colin Farrell, who is great at masking his thick Irish accent and strutting around with Fonzie cool but not much else. Anton Yelchin from Hearts in Atlantis brings vulnerability to mellow teenager Charley, but the way he tries to impress asshole/bully schoolmates makes you wonder about him.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who won hearts with his supernerd role in Superbad, adequately fills the geek Ed role handled so well in the original by the manic Stephen Geoffreys, but Brit actor David Tennant’s desperate efforts to be Russell Brand in the role of egotistical Vegas horror magician Peter Vincent are most irritating.

The script by TV writer-producer Marti Noxon is so unimaginative that people are actually called “douchebag!” in four different scenes, as if dropping the D-word somehow adds hipness to the whole affair. So dimly lit that you’d swear its makers were embarrassed by it, Fright Night is only recommended for those with an overwhelming desire to see cheesey 3-D gore flying at them in theatres. And even then, Final Destination 5 is a much more entertaining choice.

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