Review in a Hurry: Teen D-bag Charlie Brewster (Anton Yelchin) fears his nerdy ex-friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) will reveal his own former nerd status. But there's a much nastier problem awaiting him than being a social outcast...Jerry the vampire has just moved in right next door.
The original Fright was the Scream of its age—filled with very clever quips about horror movies and quite bit of blood. The new one? Half the humor, twice the gore. Still, casting Colin Farrell as the fanged one is a big win.
The Bigger Picture: The best gag Fright Night 2.0 has is while real vampires are nowhere to be found, jerky dudes seem to be everywhere. They might be dressed in black, play sports or even be geeks, but they sure do whine a lot. The script by Buffy alum Marti Noxon addresses this problem with a tasty solution: Enough with these self-absorbed teens, bring us an immortal to "take care" of these dolts!
Great idea! Let the mayhem begin!
Problem: The Charlie Brewster of this new version, our supposed hero who is tasked with vanquishing a bloodsucker and whom we're supposed to support, is the biggest jerkwad of the bunch. Even when Ed is begging for his help to find out what happened to another old friend (Jerry's first snack), Charlie blows him off. Yup, Charlie is a total douche. Yelchin (Star Trek) can be very charming but he fumbles here, not quite sure just how much of a tool he's supposed to be. Does he act this way because he's afraid he'll lose his hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots)? When he finally transforms into the hero, do we care? Nope.
The rest of the story, in a Vegas 'burb where it's always dusk, features Charlie facing off against Jerry. As played by Farrell, Jerry is smart as hell. Charlie is not so smart. Really, who sneaks into a vampire's house? They have super hearing!
The supporting cast clicks. Toni Collette (United States of Tara) plays Charlie's mom. Poots (Jane Eyre) gets a few slayer-esque moments. Mintz-Plasse has a nice turn once he's shuffled off his mortal coil.
Fright-wise, there are decent thrills, which the 3-D-filmed set pieces use to full effect. From a tract home to a tacky Luxor penthouse there's a great sense of danger at every turn.
The 180—a Second Opinion: While director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) mounts the thrills effectively, it's odd that his character-centric résumé (he also produced Collette's Tara) would produce such lackluster chemistry with his younger castmembers. Maybe he too had a hard time relating to such a shallow dude like Charlie. We can't blame him.