For the last few weeks I've been craving a good scary movie.
I've been through them all, beginning with the cheesy "The People Under the Stairs" and moving to its polar opposite the classic "Silence of the Lambs," until I reached the most satisfying of the bunch. "Zodiac" was a film I overlooked during its release, but was satisfied to revisit four years later. It chronicles the story of the real-life Zodiac killer, who stalked the Bay Area in the 1970s.
Although I dread the vampire genre (a little too cheesy and over-romanticized for my tastes), it was only a matter of time before I was forced to sit through one.
"Fright Night" is a pleasantly surprising one. Rather than taking inspiration from the modern vampire genre ("Twilight," i.e. oversexed teens, high school drama and love stories that span sequel after sequel), "Fright" is clearly influenced by the '80s, when horror films lampooned their own genre with equal measures of humor and gore (think "An American Werewolf in London" or "Re-Animator").
Everything down to the name of "Fright" vampire, Jerry, is evidence that the movie is anything but typical.
Jerry is played by Colin Farrell, who sheds his Irish accent to play a single man moving into a slightly barren suburb. Next door lives a single mother named Jane (Toni Collette) and her awkward teenage son Charley (Anton Yelchin).
After a few disappearances in the neighborhood, Charley begins to suspect that Jerry, despite his silly name, is actually a vampire and has his eyes (and teeth) locked on his mother.
He enlists the help of his nerdy best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), his girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) and a professional vampire slayer named Peter Vincent (David Tennant), who plays a more likeable version of Criss Angel, living in a Las Vegas casino surrounded by vampire collectibles. Tennant comes close to stealing the show, but the real star is Farrell.
In the last five years, Farrell has grown as an actor. Check out "The New World" or "In Bruges." This summer, he's the comedic king, with a cameo as the offensive, balding, substance-abusing boss from hell; here he is menacing and self-parodying. That's not to say that the film is all laughs. Jerry's basement will send chills down your spine.
"Fright Night" is a refreshing take on the vampire genre and an enjoyable end-of-summer film.