03 September 2011
Colin Farrell is trying to sleep with your mom. Go ahead, take a second and digest that. Pretty freaking horrifying, right? And because he’s Colin Farrell, even if your mom is a tough-as-nails Toni Collette, she’s probably going to let him.
But just in case that gonorrhea-influenced mess isn’t enough to send you into a stake-whittling rage, get this: Colin Farrell is trying to sleep with your mom, and probably also eat people, because Colin Farrell… is… a… vampire.
This is the premise of late-summer horror comedy Fright Night, and it more than fulfills it. Farrell is having a hell of a time playing Vampire Jerry (a lot has been made about the fact that, trend-buckingly, Jerry neither sparkles in the sunlight nor wants to seduce you and whisper sweet nothings to you. He might seduce you, but he will also probably eat you. And your mom. And I don’t think he knows any sweet nothings). That sense of gleeful, anarchic joy fills the remake, and anchors the teen angst-laden main plot.
As for that main plot, sometime-member-of-the-Starship-Enterprise, Anton Yelchin, plays Charley Brewster. Charley used to be a nerd, but then his acne cleared up and he started dating a hot chick.
As anyone who has ever seen the early-2000s teen comedy Whatever It Takes knows, this means that Charley is now cool and must therefore be a complete dick to his old nerd friends (here encapsulated by McLovin himself, Christopher Mintz-Plasse). So when McLovin shows up all nervous and twitchy and trying to tell Charley that his mom may be about to bang a vamp, Charley blows him off to go and play PG-13 grab ass with the hot girlfriend.
When McLovin disappears, the real action kicks up, and it’s pretty damn gleefully fun. Somehow the plot veers from Jerry geniusly circumventing the common “vampires can’t come in unless they’re invited” rule, to a stage magician (David Tennant) who has an unnatural obsession with vampires, to a pretty cool chase scene. The action is serviceably intricate and fun.
On top of that, because this movie is written by Whedon-alum Marti Noxon, it’s not dumb. The female characters don’t stand around waiting to be saved (one of my favorite moments involves hot chick Imogen Poots pulling first a silver bullet-filled gun and then a goblet of holy water off of various shelves to help fight off a vamped McLovin). The male characters don’t have to sacrifice themselves (unless they’re a douche bag magician). And even once the plot requires the rescue of Charley’s beloved, nobody really goes off the rails. Vampire Jerry is a bad freaking guy, and he needs to be defeated, and Charley’s travels towards weapon-carrying badass don’t require any of the other characters to act like idiots.
Fright Night is everything that title promises: pretty goofy, a tiny amount scary, and a fun late-in-summer examination of vampires before they started getting amnesia and seducing Sookie Stackhouse.