Fright Night

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(2011) ★★½

BBC2: Sunday 1 November, 12am

Highschool nerd Christopher Mintz-Plasse can’t convince best friend Anton Yelchin that their new neighbour Colin Farrell is a vampire. And Anton’s divorced mom Toni Collette is in danger of letting the wrong one in… With Yelchin poking around alone in his neighbour’s lair, Craig Gillespie’s vampire revamp is initially more reminsicent of DreamWorks’ Rear Window ‘tribute’ Disturbia than it is Tom Holland’s 1985 horror comedy hit Fright Night.

It differs in a variety of ways, both major and minor. There’s more highschool bitchiness, less open sexuality, and instead of clips from old horror movies on TV we get to see the boys’ DIY superhero videos on Mintz-Plasse’s computer. But, aside from the crass 3D, the least impressive rejig is having Roddy McDowalls’ dignified old vampire hunter replaced by Dr Who’s talented David Tennant, here wastefully playing a coarse Criss Angel-style Las Vegas magician in the mould of Russell Brand.

Which encapsulates the new approach; unlike the fondly remembered original, it’s not endearing. It’s an efficient thrill machine, but not often amusing – Farrell is the only one who seems to be in tune with the story’s creepy humour. Syfy has 2013’s Fright Night 2: New Blood at 9pm. ‘Based on characters created by Tom Holland’ claim the credits but I’m not sure countess Elisabeth Bathory counts on that score.

They must mean TV host Peter Vincent (Sean Power following in the footsteps of Roddy McDowall and David Tennant) but, believe me, this slickly lit Bucharest bloodbath is in no way related to the 80s Fright Nights, nor the 2011 revamp. Incidentally, the CCTV footage in the prologue is freakier than anything in all of the Paranormal Activitys put together.

Certificate: 15

Duration: 106min

IMDB – Fright Night

TMDB – Fright Night

Rotten Tomatoes – Fright Night

Other Showings Date & Time
BBC2 Scotland Sunday, 1 November at 1:00AM