The fright is right

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

A RE­MAKE of a fondly re­mem­bered blood­y­buddy film from 1985, Fright Night sprays its plen­ti­ful sup­ply of shocks and chuck­les in all di­rec­tions. Most of it hits.

You can’t ask for too much more when you’re wan­der­ing down the pulpier end of the en­ter­tain­ment spec­trum.

Like so many res­i­dents of Las Ve­gas, Jerry ( Colin Far­rell) keeps strange hours. You could say he has been work­ing the night shift all his life. Jerry is a vam­pire. This is a big se­cret, by the way. If you have be­come privy to this bleed-to-know in­for­ma­tion, it’s more than likely Jerry has al­ready sunk his teeth into your neck.

It should also be flagged that Jerry is a strap­ping hunk as far as modern vam­pires go, too cool, smart and edg­ily evil to be ever lumped in with that wimpy Twi­light crowd.

As Fright Night starts, Jerry has his Ve­gas groove on. The itin­er­ant pop­u­la­tion – plush with tourists, tramps and two-bit hustlers – serves up plenty of easy prey. Fail­ing that, there is al­ways the neigh­bour.

Which is re­ally where our story be­gins. Some­one next door has stum­bled across what Jerry is re­ally all about.

How­ever, the warn­ings of teenage Charley ( An­ton Yelchin) are fall­ing on deaf ears. The cops don’t get where he’s com­ing from. His ditzy di­vorcee mum ( Toni Col­lette) has been blind­sided by how hot Jerry looks in a sin­glet.

Charley’s girl­friend ( Imo­gen Poots) is show­ing wor­ry­ing signs of feel­ing the same way. What fol­lows plot-wise is not a world away from the same set-up used in Shia LaBeouf’s 2007 break­through hit Dis­tur­bia.

Only here, all op­por­tu­ni­ties for sud­den bursts of gore and clev­erly chore­ographed ac­tion are heartily taken up.

Though not the first name that comes to mind when cast­ing about for a hip blood­sucker, Colin Far­rell makes more of the linch­pin role of Jerry than many would have thought.

As the mo­ment de­mands, he can shift gears through funny, funny-scary and scary, all in tremen­dously con­vinc­ing fash­ion. So much so that Yelchin, os­ten­si­bly the lead­ing man of Fright Night, of­ten seems sur­plus to re­quire­ments.

Kick-Ass su­per dweeb Christo­pher Mintz-Plasse is put to good use as a former friend of Charley’s who crosses paths with Jerry in a bad way.

And, later on, the sur­prise ap­pear­ance of former Doc­tor Who David Ten­nant as the boozy casino il­lu­sion­ist who comes to Charley’s aid lifts Fright Night out of a short-lived, mid-film rut. As long as there isn’t a se­quel, this ef­fort will com­pare favourably with the orig­i­nal in years to come.

LATE-NIGHT SNACK:

Doris ( Emily Mon­tague) falls vic­tim to Jerry ( Colin Far­rell).

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