The thing about vampires is that they never go out of style. No matter what the year or franchise, Hollywood loves its vampires. So much so that Craig Gillespie's latest offering is in fact a remake of an old Tom Holland movie from 1985, of the same name - Fright Night.
Charlie Brewster (Anthony Yelchin) is a popular boy in school, and has a hot girlfriend, Amy (Imogen Poots), and some cool pals. He lives with his mother (Toni Collette) in a suburb of Las Vegas.
Charlie's childhood friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), with whom he is no longer on speaking terms, brings to his attention the suspicious disappearance of neighbours and classmates. Ed is convinced that Charlie's new neighbour, Jerry (Colin Farrell), is a vampire.
The rest of the movie revolves around Charlie being forced to buy his friend's theory and trying to make amends for his bad behaviour. His unlikely allies are his mother and Amy.
Charlie tries to enlist the famous celebrity vampire slayer, Peter Vincent (David Tennant), to their cause, but it turns out that Peter is a fake.
The story has been made a little more contemporary, like the scene where Charlie tells Ed that the latter has been reading too much Twilight. Many characters from the original are missing, including Billy Cole and Detective Lennox. This has worked to the film's disadvantage, in a way, because it seems highly unlikely that a teenager could take on the menace of the Mediterranean breed of vampires without stakes (pun intended).
Charlie walks up to vampire creatures and stabs them through the heart, missing most of the time. Such heroism is not in tune with his character as the nice boy next door who would rather be cool than be seen with nerds.
The vampire seems to have to no problem sucking at the neck of panicking victims, but his fangs do not grow when he is close to the main characters. It is almost as if he wants to torture them first, and then drink their blood - typical Hollywood vampires do not have such virtuous patience.
There is never any explanation for Peter Vincent's initial reluctance to accompany Charlie on his mission. Also, if he is a fake, then how does he know what all those herbs and weapons are for? His background story, mentioned in passing, and verified by Jerry later, is sketchy and convenient.
While the actors cannot be faulted for their portrayal of their characters, it must be noted that Christopher Mintz-Plasse indulges in some hamming. Anton Yelchin is calm and professional as the teenager hero, and has the right amount of vulnerability and firmness on his face. He is not too great with action sequences, but he manages to hold his own against Colin Farrell.
Colin Farrell as the vampire is terrific. To begin with, he just has to make menacing faces, and let special effects take care of the rest. He also has to act slightly crazy, and his character can smell out hidden humans from a distance. Colin's skin looks slightly photoshopped, but he manages to hold the movie together.
Production design is not prominent, and that can be a sign of superior work in progress. It is the special effects that disappoint, as do the vampire masks. Costumes are normal - no fancy flowing cloaks for the blood drinker.
A rather dull movie, Fright Night can still be a weekday watch, at least for some of the 3D action sequences. And remember - a vampire cannot enter your house unless you invite it in.