Fright Night brings uninspired addition to vampire craze

By Gus Bode

Provided Photo

2/5 stars

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when America revamped its love affair with vampires. The obvious culprit would be Stephenie Meyer, whose “Twilight” series paired teenage angst with bloodlust savages.


But before Edward and Bella, screenwriter Marti Noxon helped pen the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” the vanguard for the current vampire craze.

With director Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”), Noxon returns to the genre she helped exploit with “Fright Night.” The film, a remake of the 1985 movie by Tom Holland of the same name, attempts to keep pumping life into the undead frenzy and comes out with stale results.

Anton Yelchin stars as Charley Brewster, a bland teenager who lives with his single mother (Toni Collette) in an equally bland suburb of Las Vegas.  Things get interesting in the isolated community of cookie-cutter homes as students start mysteriously disappearing when Jerry Dandrige (Colin Farrell) moves in next door.

There are some good elements embedded deep in the film. The horror/comedy hybrid isn’t perfected in the picture, but the campy ’80s B-movie vibe carries over into the current edition.

Gillespie takes a big step pushing the film to an “R” rating, subsequently molding the movie into a satire of the teen-friendly horror flick it narrowly escapes. The film’s dubbed as a satire, which takes an ironically comedic approach to all its awkwardness, cheesy dialogue and horror-movie stereotypes.

The entire cast is forgettable, aside from Farrell’s take as the Budweiser-drinking, womanizing vampire who unintentionally slips in and out of an Irish accent.

David Tennant, who comes off as a rip-off Russell Brand, plays Las Vegas magician Peter Vincent, a rip-off Criss Angel. What starts off as a promising, comedic role ends in Tennant playing sidekick to Yelchin’s nerdy high school hero.


The plot drags in many parts, building tension to lackluster, dopey resolutions. Whether this is Noxon’s commentary on thriller clichés or just bad writing is debatable, but either way it moves the film at a glacial pace.

The film’s digital 3D is totally useless here, the one-line zingers go from slightly witty to unbearable and the overall story struggles to balance its thrills and laughs. In a time with so many different vampire tales to choose from, “Fright Night” fails to develop a distinct and memorable voice.

Brendan Smith can be reached at 618-536-3311 ext. 258 or [email protected]