Vampire movies were first made over a century ago, and the genre is still thriving. In fact, the pop culture significance of vampires has increased significantly in the last decade, with “Blade,” “Underworld” and “Twilight,” as well as TV series such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “True Blood” and “The Vampire Diaries.” So it’s no surprise that Hollywood chose to remake the 1985 cult classic vampire film “Fright Night” for today’s audiences.
In the updated version, high school student Charlie (Anton Yelchin) and his mother (Toni Collette) get a new neighbor when Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves in next door. Soon, Charlie’s classmates and their families start mysteriously disappearing, and his friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) suspects that Jerry is a vampire and responsible for the missing people. But Charlie, in trying to fit in with his new friends in the cool clique at school, ignores his former best friend who hasn’t yet grown out of his geek phase. However, once the disappearances start occurring closer to home and Charlie realizes the truth about Jerry, it’s up to him to put a stop to his bloody conquests.
I never saw the original film, but the 2011 version makes me wonder if a remake was necessary or even desired. I’m not a big fan of vampire movies, so maybe this film isn’t for me. But still, it doesn’t have anything new to offer either visually or in terms of a story. Farrell gives an earnest performance as the latest cool and sexy vampire, and Yelchin (“Star Trek,” “Terminator: Salvation”) is a promising up-and-coming actor, but their roles could have been played just as effectively by lesser known actors. Even the Academy Award-nominated Collette appears uninspired. The only interesting performance is from David Tennant, who plays the drinking and swearing Las Vegas showman and wannabe vampire hunter Peter Vincent.
There are a few cool special effects sequences, especially a highway chase sequence with a long tracking shot. But the film isn’t particularly scary and lacks any kind of creepy energy. Perhaps it’s the tongue-in-cheek tone of the film that makes it lose the “fright” part of “Fright Night.” It’s the kind of time-killing film high school kids can watch on dates, where girls can feign fear as an excuse to cuddle. Once they hit the yogurt place after the movie, all memories of it are long gone.
“Fright Night”, 106 minutes, is Rated R and opens in theatres Friday.