Younger audiences, those unfamiliar with the original or that hate the twaddle of Twilight will likely like Fright Night. Hey, no Twilight vegan, goody-two-shoes crap here. At least this vampire sucks.
Unfortunately, so does much of his movie, and in more ways than one.
Before we get to the bad news, the good news. This vampire and his spawn are the real deal. Colin Farrell's Jerry never took a course in sulking 101. He doesn't sigh or pout over unfulfilled love. This guy is a bloodsucking, babe hunting, cold-hearted, pitiless villain like vampires of old.
He's what a vampire ought to be.
While his attitude works and Farrell is a terrific actor, he doesn't really have vampire looks. He's a great bad guy but lacks the suave, irresistibly handsome, vital panache possessed by great vampire actors.
Chris Sarandon in the original film is a good example of having the right stuff.
Farrell isn't the only actor suffering. David Tennant of TV's Dr. Who has the unenviable job of carrying Roddy McDowall's cross and bag of wooden stakes. Where McDowall had a blast as Peter Vincent, Tennant gets stuck as a famous, self-absorbed magician dabbling in the dark arts.
Half the fun of the Vincent character is his being the host of a very bad, and very late, late night horror show on TV with the same name as the film.
Also wasted is the multi-talented Toni Collette.
Much of this may not be Farrell, Tennant or Collette's fault. Their characters are too predictable and are stuck in a plot that skips along the surface, leaves loose ends and lacks laughs.
The original Fright Night is one of my all-time favorite vampire movies. I was looking forward to the 3D remake. Writer Marti Noxon and director Craig Gillespie keep the basics of original writer/director Tom Holland's flick intact. The basics are great but nice twists made the original so much fun. Inexplicably, Noxon and Gillespie change the best parts of his 1985 classic.
Fright Night - the remake - needs a better comedy set-up. Missing is the comic relief of the sidekick best friend and the fun from the subtle horror when Charlie - now played by Anton Yetchin (Star Trek) - realizes there is a vampire living next door.
A vampire doing business in suburbia is a nice twist. Farrell's Jerry is in a suburb in Las Vegas. Vampires and sun don't co-exist very well but not much is made of that joke or the vampire feasting of high school kids, soccer moms and silicone enhanced strippers.
Noxon and Gillespie also gloss over the terrific contest of wits, will and one-up between the coldest of killers and a nervous high school kid. The game is there but it just doesn't gel. Neither does the chemistry between the characters.
While vampire movies are never deep by great movie standards, they can be pretty good. This one isn't. It is pure paint-by-numbers.
The original is a decent vampire flick that took itself seriously while keeping the tongue slightly in cheek. Horror always works best with comedy. “Fright Night” is a comedy and in 3D and two.
Funny - yes. Sometimes. Fun? Absolutely not.
Rated R for violence and language. It opens Friday, August 19 at the Carmike 12 and the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
5 stars/4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars / 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars / 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars / 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself