Fright Night

I am deeply unhappy with the current state of Dr Who. I am not a fan of the new Doctor, the writing, or the new season arcs, which all seem predicated on some kind of puzzle that is neither interesting nor satisfying. I can only tolerate it by pretending I'm watching fan fiction and the real thing will be back sooner or later. It's these kinds of thoughts that led to me sadly searching my cable offerings, trying to find anything that was featuring David Tennant, my favorite Doctor. I found a horror film that I had meant to watch a year or so ago and had completely forgotten about.

Fright Night is a remake of the 1985 horror film of the same name. This new one was written by Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Madman, Glee) and directed by Craig Gillespie. It begins with a commercial for Fright Night, a Vegas show featuring Peter Vincent (David Tennant), a sleazy looking Goth magician. Then we pull away from the television to discover a vampire is in the house, slaughtering everyone.

We soon meet Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) who seems pretty happy with his lot. He has a terrific girlfriend, Amy Peterson (Imogen Poots), a loving mom (Toni Collette), and loads of friends. He also has an ex-friend, “Evil” Ed Lee (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), that he has left behind as he lost interest in the things they did when they were younger. Now Charley is annoyed, and maybe feeling a little guilty, as Ed approaches him and blackmails him into looking into the disappearances of several kids from their school, including the one who was caught by the vampire in the opening scenes.

Charley reluctantly makes arrangements to meet at the home of the most recent missing. When he gets home from school he finally meets Jerry (Colin Farrell), the new neighbor whose junk his mother has been complaining about. Charley is immediately suspicious, not so much because he thinks Jerry is a supernatural creature, but because he doesn't want anyone attracting his mom's attention.

Charley's meeting with Ed ends poorly, with Charley stomping off and Ed continuing his investigation on his own. It's not long before he encounters the vampire, with a predicable result. Charley is a little freaked when Ed doesn't show up in school and starts his own investigation. Soon he has found out enough that Jerry goes after his entire family and Amy, Charley's girlfriend. They flee to Peter Vincent's place to seek his help, but run into more trouble.

The casting in this film is outstanding. Toni Collette is always fabulous and Imogen Poots shines as Amy. Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse are both excellent, but for me it was David Tennant who stole the show. He's extremely funny as the drunken, cowardly and scornful Peter Vincent. Sandra Vergara as Ginger, his assistant/girlfriend, has great chemistry with him. Their hate/love/hate relationship works very well, with a lot of sparks, and objects, flying. Colin Farrell is also in prime form as Jerry, the mundanely named vampire. He has some great lines, delivered with terrific timing. Unlike some people, I think the very best horror combines humor and horror. There is lots of scary, suspense in Fright Night, and lots of bravery, but my favorite parts are all funny.

This is the official trailer but it is a little spoilery, so be warned before you watch it. You may want to skip it and go directly to the film itself.

The official trailer does not have nearly enough David Tennant in it, so I give you a clip from Comic-Con that is all David, all the time.

Bonus Treat:
This week's bonus treat is a Three Word Phrase comic from Ryan Pequin. It's about a kidnapping that goes awry.