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Fright Night review - vampires are such assholes

Vampires are not the ideal neighbor. They'll hit on your mom, bring girls over at all hours of the night, and if you try and make a fuss, they'll kill you and your entire family. Hell, they might just kill you anyway. If you live miles outside of Las Vegas in a small neighborhood bordered by nothing but miles of desert, a bad neighbor can really get away with just about anything. Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) and his mother Jane (Toni Collette) learn this the hard way. There new neighbor's name is Jerry (Colin Farrell) and boy is he a huge douche.

Fright Night is Disturbia meets Zombieland meets, well, vampires. And the mix is perfect. The characters are fresh, the film is suspenseful, the villain is calculatingly playful, and the action is thrilling. There have been a heap of crappy movies starring the undead in the last few years, most notably films like Legion (or anything starring Paul Bettany). Fright Night is different. While the plot doesn't sound inventive from a birds eye view—a kid has to battle his vampire neighbor—it's full of fun surprises and a sharp sense of humor.

Great cast

Anton Yelchin is going to be a star. The kid has talent. You may remember him as Chekov in Star Trek a couple years back. He isn't going to win an Oscar for Fright Night, but he straddles the geek-trying-to-be-cool line well as Charlie Brewser. Unlike most Hollywood high schoolers, Charlie has a girfriend named Amy seems to really care for her. He also thinks she's a bit out of his league, which I can't argue with, though she's played by a girl with the unfortunate name Imogen Poots.

Toni Collete is also wonderful, as usual. She may be the first mom in a horror movie that actually sides with her son when everybody else thinks he's crazy. Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin) also plays his usual geeky, funny role as Ed, a friend that Charlie has to dump to hang with the cool kids. And the cool kids are pretty damn cool in this movie: Dave Franco (brother of James) plays Mark and Reid Ewing (Haley's boyfriend in Modern Family) plays Ben.

David Tennant (Dr. Who) almost steals the show as Peter Vincent, a Las Vegas act with a Jack Sparrow quality to him. Peter Vincent markets himself as a vampire killer. His show is as ridiculous as his outfit, and he's funnier than you'd think. At first I thought Vincent was miscast and actually wished someone like Johnny Depp had taken the role, but by the end I became a big fan of David Tennant. I'll have to start watching his series of Dr. Who

Finally, Colin Farrell really struck gold as Jerry the vampire. He's one of the best villains I've seen in a while. Farrell's not always great at playing larger-than-life characters, but here he's just able to be a dick, content to give evil smiles as he watches his victims try to escape. If you've been alive as long as Jerry has, you lose sight of urgency. Maybe he's just bored or maybe he's got bigger things on his mind. Either way, there isn't a bit of good in him.

As a side note, it's nice to see a vampire movie that brings back some of the old school rules of vampirism. For example, did you know that you have to invite a vampire into your home? Farrell finds some interesting ways around this problem. 

Hilarious and frightening

Fright Night is a good example of remake done right and a great script beating a big budget. This isn't a huge Hollywood epic, but it feels like one. Director Craig Gillespie was responsible for the amazing Lars and the Real Girl and his timing and skill show through in this popcorn thriller as well as does the writing of Marti Noxon, who has had some experience with vampires before. She produced and wrote a ton of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes.

If you like funny horror movies, this is a good one. Alfred Hitchcock once said that it was a filmmaker's mission was to surprise the audience as often as possible. Fright Night is surprising.

Rating:  (Awesome)

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