Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) is your everyday teenager who has evolved far enough up the foodchain to be considered one of the ‘cool’ kids. He even has a ‘cool’ girlfriend in the form of Imogen Poots. All he had to do was ditch his previous nerdy lifestyle, including his best friend, ‘Evil’ Ed Lee (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Life is pretty sweet. Except, Charley lives next to a vampire who looks suspiciously like Colin Farrell. And ‘Evil’ Ed has disappeared. Who can help him? Doctor Who, that’s who!
Yelchin and Mintz-Plasse are believable as two best friends recently fallen out. Mintz-Plasse plays to his strengths, even if they’re simply being McLovin’ with more swearing. It’s the thought of this reviewer that he would have been more suited to the role of Charley, but I think we’re a long way from him being classed as a bankable heartthrob. Poots, despite having an awesome surname, has nothing to do but walk around asking for exposition.
What of the ‘grown-ups’? Well, as the big bad Farrell is solid as bloodsucker, Jerry Dandrige. Even if most of his emoting consists of looking over the bridge of his nose and speaking with a gravelly voice. Toni Collette is wasted in a role that adds little to the story except motivation for the protagonist in the third act.The main offender, however, is former timelord David Tennant. Adopting his best cockney accent, mostly consitsing of saying ‘fack’ instead of ‘fuck’, Tennant is completely unbelievable as Vegas magician and vampire hunter, Peter Vincent. The main problem being that he plays Vincent as Russell Brand, which would work if he actually was Russell Brand. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it shouldn’t be played by a pouting lovey.
Fright Night follows an unusual equation. For every genuine scare, there’s two lines of atrocious dialogue. ‘Did you pray to the god of ass!?’ cries one of Charley’s newly acquired cool friends, in a way that suggests that this dialogue could only be written by someone hasn’t been a teenager in 30-odd years. Everyone goes around ‘dude’-ing to point of Juno nausea.
Craig Gillepse is an unusual choice for director. Mr Woodcock and Lars and the Real Girl were hardly rollercoaster rides of photography, were they? However, he handles the action set-pieces well even if they are marred by unnecessary 3D. Though why it has to be so dark… Okay, this is a film set mostly at night, but, by Christ, could there not have been at least one street light on.
Fright Night is not a bad film, but it’s no corker. I’m going to give 6 out 10. However, we don’t do scores on this site, so I won’t.