In Fright Night, an unnecessary remake of the beloved 1985 vampire romp, Anton Yelchin plays a formerly geeky high school senior who has grown taller and stouter, lost his zits, and is now going out with the prettiest girl in class.
But to accomplish this teenage metamorphosis, Yelchin's Charley Brewster has had to leave his past - and his nerdy former best friend - behind. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad's McLovin) has the honors, and has the old videos of the two fanboys parading around in dweeby, superhero-costumed bliss.
So Charley's a little cold toward his ex-pal. But then again, he has Amy (the sunny English actress Imogen Poots) to warm him up.
All of which, unfortunately, is beside the point because there aren't any moral repercussions for Charley's snobbery and rejection. Well, there is a repercussion, but it's not a moral one so much as it is supernatural: Ed (Mintz-Plasse) gets gnawed on by a vampire and, consequently, goes over to the dark (and bloodthirsty) side.
This isn't really giving anything away, because even if you haven't seen Tom Holland's original Fright Night, Craig Gillespie's (he did Lars and the Real Girl) new take comes off as mostly unsurprising.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Colin Farrell, who has been on a roll lately, goes genre-slumming as Jerry, the vampire who moves in next door. Charley is convinced early on of Jerry's sinister proclivities, but it takes Charley's mother (Toni Collette) a little longer to realize her handsome new neighbor is a fanged fiend.
To help him put Jerry down once and for all, Charley seeks the counsel of a Vegas showman, Peter Vincent (David Tennant), who has incorporated vampiric lore and lusty vampirettes into his act. Tennant plays Vincent like a spoiled rock star, holed up in goth digs with his rare Transylvanian artifacts. The deadpan Doctor Who star doesn't really make his presence known until the film's third act, and things liven accordingly. (I use the word liven loosely, though - closing in on a two-hour running time, Fright Night can feel eternal.)
The film's producers are bragging about their 3-D effects - it was shot with stereoscopic technology, not digitally retrofitted after the fact. But with the exception of a few stakes and crosses jumping from the screen, some bloody sprays here and there, and one creepy, claustrophobic car ride, the 3-D glasses are a hindrance, not an enhancement.
Contact movie critic Steven Rea at 215-854-5629 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read
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