Remake of a popular 1985 hit, Fright Night starring Colin Farrell as a vampire who moves into a residential neighborhood, doesn’t even deliver on the promise of its title. The premise has potential for some genuine thrills, but the lousy script fails spectacularly in mining even a handful of scary moments.
Anton Yelchin stars as a bland teenager who disregards his geeky best friend’s warning, only to discover that indeed his next-door neighbor is a blood-sucking vamp. He can’t tell his mom or his girlfriend because he’s afraid they’ll laugh at him; but he’s got reason to worry because the fanger knows he’s in on his secret.
The film starts off slowly, wasting too much screen time on the dull youngsters who you want to see being attacked and viciously drained of blood; instead they’re allowed to ramble on about their difficult childhoods and their relationship issues. When the attacks do finally start, they’re predictable and fairly standard – a victim goes from room to room in an empty house, trying to escape the vampire, who is always a step ahead. Evidently the makers of this film aren’t familiar with that basic principle of horror movies – what you don’t see is always more scary than what you do!
The writers misfire badly in their attempt to inject humor into the plot. Fright Night is no Zombieland, and despite the presence of Superbad’s Christopher Mintz-Plasse (as Yelchin’s nerdish childhood pal), the laughs come off as silly and misplaced. Colin Farrell has precisely one chilling moment as the pasty-faced vamp; and the climax, which involves Yelchin vanquishing Farrell with the help of a vampire expert, is unmemorable to say the least. The film is more frustrating than anything else, because it defies the most basic logic. If you’ve discovered a vampire’s lair, and you have enough time to seek out an expert vampire hunter, wouldn’t you just tell the cops first?
I’m going with one-and-a-half out five for Fright Night. It’s a waste of time and money both on the part on those who made, and those who’ll go see it.