"Jerry? That's a terrible name for a vampire!" declares highschooler Charley (Anton Yelchin). But then again, what's in a name? Jerry's still a vampire.
That also means, however, that he's bound by certain rules, such as: he can't come inside your house, unless invited. However, next door neighbor, real estate agent and single mom Jane (Toni Collette) is used to having an "open house". When vampire Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves into the neighborhood and starts appraising she and her son Charley for their crypt appeal, the nasty negotiation begins.
Pretty early on, Charley susses out Jerry's impious intent, but no one will believe him. It takes Charley's best bud Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) to get bitten and turned (hence, into "Evil Ed") before the bloodsucker eviction effort really goes into full swing. Once Ed's become a baddie, Jerry next sets his preternatural gaze on Charley's girlfriend Amy (Imogen Poots) and, just because he can, he seduces Jane, too. Charley enlists the assistance of a reluctant but ultimately willing celebrity illusionist named Peter Vincent (David Tennant) and armed with garlic, crosses, and anti-vampire relics of all shapes and sizes, the game is on.
Fright Night, in spite of the fact it's yet another 3D release and has no need whatsoever of such gilding, is a well-made, briskly paced, fun horror film that's also amusing and witty (thanks to screenwriter Marti Noxon of Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame, and director Craig Guillespie, whose credits include Lars and the Real Girl, as well as The United States of Tara) on top of being tense, gory, and suspenseful at times.
Although most of the film's focus is centered on Charley and his nearest and dearest — not to mention the ever-vexed Vincent and his acerbic assistant (Sandra Vergara) — it's Farrell who really shines like, well, the sun in this role. He's sexy, scary, sarcastic and sharp throughout.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson
*coming soon: in depth report from the set, where we watched the filming of a key scene and got interviews with Yelchin, Poots, Tennant and Farrell