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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 10:44 pm

Night as fun as it is frightening


Hollywood has never been shy about plundering its past in order to remake properties that have proven successful. Now referred to as “reboots,” as slightly modern spins are put on these dog-eared tales, a sense of desperation hangs over these projects. They are hobbled from the start and the final film usually proves that some movies are better left as they were.
Like the recent Planet of the Apes re-do, Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night is somehow able to inject a bit of life in an old project. This tale of an awkward teenager (Anton Yelchin) who’s convinced his new neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire proves to be genuinely creepy as well as funny in a post-modern hip way that simultaneously skewers the horror genre while executing its conventions with a sure and effective hand.

Much of this is due to Farrell, who’s obviously having great fun strutting about as the nocturnal lady-killer who rends jugulars with abandon and revels in his supernatural powers. He’s an attractive bloodsucker and nearly convinces us that an eternity of sleepless nights might not be such a bad deal. Yelchin holds his own, creating a sympathetic teen character who manages not to annoy us with too much adolescent angst while Imogen Poots as his girlfriend is as plucky as she is sexy. Effortlessly she shows us why her fella would battle the undead to save her.

Fright Night offers little in the way of anything new where vampire films are concerned, but really what is there left to say? In the age of sparkling, lovesick bloodsuckers, it’s nice to see one of their brethren attack his work with such zeal and face an adversary who finds he can give as good as he gets when everything’s on the line. Now that’s real passion for you.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at