Today: April 11, 2024
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Fright Night

The casting of Colin Farrell as a vampire was always going to attract interest from the twi-hards of this world, and his smouldering face consuming half of the film’s poster suggests that this could be a new instalment in the vamp craze that has caused doe-eyed tweens to thrust their bare necks under the noses of scruffy film stars.

The casting of Colin
Farrell as a vampire was always going to attract interest from the twi-hards of
this world, and his smouldering face consuming half of the film’s poster
suggests that this could be a new instalment in the vamp craze that has caused
doe-eyed tweens to thrust their bare necks under the noses of scruffy film
stars.

But in Fright Night, Farrell’s Jerry (an ongoing joke as the
worst vampire name ever) is an absolute terror. His dark charm is in no way
used for good as he quietly destroys a pleasant suburban neighbourhood, picking
off teenage boys and go-go dancers like hormone-pumped canapés.

In a refreshing break from genre convention, there’s little
time wasted in pointing out that Jerry is the walking dead. A brilliantly nasty
little Christopher Mintz-Palsse does
well to clock on and, unlike the painfully obvious first half of Twilight,
wastes no time in telling ex-BFF, nerd-turned-lad Charley (Anton Yelchin) who, of course, doesn’t believe him until it’s too
late.

When Jerry turns his attention to Charley’s loved ones – his single mom (Collette) and smoking girlfriend (Poots) – he must man up and find help from anywhere he can. Cue… David Tennant? The slender ex-Doctor Who may not be an obvious choice
for a vampire slayer by Hollywood’s standards but he is what makes Fright Night
capable of cult status. Leather clad and tattooed, Tennant seems to relish the
role, spitting cusses and loving ladies like an absolute rock star.

Tennant’s Peter Vincent personifies Fright Night as a figure
of indulgence; drawn out cat-and-mouse sequences, copious amounts of blood and
an unflinching baddy makes for at times glorious viewing. The central humans
are two-dimensional in comparison; Yelchin is puppy-like in manner and appearance,
lolloping about the sweaty Las Vegas desert trying not to die. Having already
achieved bloke status (nice girl, idiot friends, sweet sneakers) this is not a
tale of the underdog overcoming evil and, when crunch time comes you question
whether you yourself would fight or just let Colin bite you, such is the power
of his smoulder.

It’s debatable whether this can be classed as horror. Sure, there’s gore, at times bloody,
bone-crunching gore, there’s some tense, little frights and a 3D close up of
Jerry’s disfigured face that will bring you close to tears. But Gillespie, who has taken a drastic swerve since 2007’s Lars and the Real Girl, indulges in
more than shock tactics. There’s
some proper characters in here, a stream of humour that doesn’t shy away
throughout and at times some quite nice moments, namely home video footage of
Charley and Ed (Mintz-Plasse) playing nerd. Even Farrell seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself which,
given his main task is ripping out people’s throats, is rather unnerving.

It’s perhaps better to let the blood and filthy language
wash over you in a torrent of thoroughly fun viewing. Contributing to the grand
3D debate, there is enough quality content here that it didn’t need to resort
to the odd visual gimmick. Otherwise, Fright Night rounds off a rather
disappointing season of high budget releases with hope and, in Tennant, gives
us a louche, unlikely hero in the shape of someone who used to battle the bad
guys with a pen that lit up.

Beth Webb - Events Editor

I aim to bring you a round up of the best film events in the UK, no matter where you are or what your preference. For live coverage of events across London, follow @FilmJuice

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