Vampires are officially now the most overused movie plot in the history of cheesy movie monsters. Since Nosferatu came out in 1922 the film industry has been stacked as high as an old castle with these blood suckers. Twilight seemed to put the last nail in this over-milked coffin by making vampires wussy Abercrombie and Fitch models, but then Fright Night showed up and decided to see how much lower they can drag the entire concept with the determination of an Olympic limbo dancer.
Fright Night is a remake of a 1985 film by the same name and pretty much copy-pastes the plot. In the current version Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin, The Smurfs) is a teenage boy trying to fit in while living in a suburb of Las Vegas. He’s recently ditched his best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Marmaduke) along with the world of total geek so that he could score his hot girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots, Jane Eyre). Life goes completely bonkers for Brewster when he finds out his neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell, Horrible Bosses) is actually a vampire.
With any vampire film it’s good to know whose rules are in play. Farrell is the classic type vampire, meaning stakes, crosses, garlic and sunlight are all part of the game. The movie goes so much for the classic look that Farrell’s hair is even styled to look like Bela Lugosi with a slicked back widow’s peak, but combined with his incredibly thick eyebrows and comically paled skin he ends up looking like Eddy Munster.
The film has nearly no redeeming qualities in its entire run. The dialogue is painfully predictable and is made even worse by a music score that is trying to ratchet up the tension so hard that it spins back on itself and becomes irritating. Yelchin and Poots’ high school love affair is so cheesy and forced that it could have come right out of any teenage boy’s journal about the girl next door. The relationship between Yelchin and Mintz-Plasse is supposed to be this tragic thing of Yelchin ditching his best friend to be cool and how terrible such an action is, but it falls flat on its face when Mintz-Plasse can’t pull off being more likeable than a giant zit. The only character that brings anything worthwhile is the comic relief, a TV vampire slayer played by David Tennant (Doctor Who) that just so happens to collect all the information and real vampire fighting equipment in the world. The cast runs to him throughout the film in order to take down Farrell. He at least gets a few funny lines, but they’re supposed to lighten the intense mood that the film never really gets to.
The last and probably most nit-picky issue has to do with the vampire’s fangs. It’s been in fashion to have the vampire’s two little fangs just retract up inside their faces when they’re not in use, that way the vampires can look like normal people and save tons on make-up. But in Fright Night the vampires grow several rows of sharp teeth when they’re ready to bite into someone, which is completely impractical for drawing out blood. Vampire fangs are supposed to resemble a bat, used to prick the skin and drink the blood that flows out, not shred things into hamburger. This is all just the last complaint to a genre that needs to be nailed in a coffin and buried underground for several years until it can remember how to act like a grown up.
Fright Night is rated R for violence and language. I’d rate it as such in a desperate attempt to defer people from seeing this thing.