What’s the Story?
Anton Yelchin used to be a nerd, but then he became cool and dated a hot chick. Now there’s a vampire (Colin Farrell) living next door to him. After his friend gets killed by said vampire, Anton believes this and tries to work out what to do. He turns to a stage magician (David Tenant) for advice. Then the vampire works out he’s been made and attacks Anton and co.
What’s the Problem?
Get to the Funny
This film is great from about halfway in. The first half is your typical “I don’t believe he’s a vampire” then “I believe he’s a vampire but don’t want to sound crazy so I’ll just act weird and alienate everyone who cares about me” cliché parts, but once Anton, his mother, and his girlfriend all believe Colin is a vampire, the movie really comes into its own. It’s funny, it plays with established vampire clichés and rules (like vampires not being able to come in unless invited) but it’s still gory. It doesn’t trade horror for comedy; it just adds comedy to its repertoire.
And to be fair, they try to get to the funny as quick as possible. The movie starts with Anton already popular, and his nerdy friend’s opening line is basically “Your neighbour is a vampire”, so they don’t waste time setting up that relationship before they get to the plot. But it’s still a while before they reach that part where they’ve set up enough of the film and the lore to start making fun of it.
Which would be fine if they were changing the vampires in a significant way, but since they’re using all the known vampire rules, they could have assumed that anyone seeing this kind of film probably knew them already and just skip to the fun.
His friend has some and doesn’t show it to Anton. Instead he just sounds like a babbling crazy nerd and ends up getting killed. Here’s a tip, kids: if you have video proof that someone is a vampire, use that as your opening evidence rather than crazy-sounding rants.
Stop Going Upstairs
When a vampire is chasing you, don’t go upstairs. Go outside. Especially if it’s daytime. Come on now, this isn’t rocket science.
What’s the Solution?
Honestly, if this film got to the funny bits (that is, every scene starring David Tenant and everything after Colin is revealed as a vampire to the assembled masses) within the first half hour it’d be damned near perfect. It’s fun, the fight scenes aren’t groan-inducing for the most part (that is, the characters aren’t utter morons 90% of the time), and if it references the original Fright Night (which I haven’t seen) it doesn’t do so so obviously as to ruin this film. In fact, this doesn’t really feel like a remake. Mostly it feels like a rebuttal to Twilight. No no, this is what vampires are like, now put your hairspray away, get out of the sunlight and brutally murder some hot chicks and create an army of the undead.
Unfortunately it’s only on in 3D most places, and it doesn’t need the 3D like some big-spectacle movies do, but it’s definitely worth seeing. It’s worth it for David Tenant as a creepy goth magician who’s addicted to Midori, even without Anton being not-a-douche for most of the film and Colin Farrell showing us how awesome and disturbing old-school (that is, non-sparkly) vampires can and should be.