For those that prefer their vampires vicious and un-sparkly comes an awesome summer action romp with one o the worst titles since…ever. Really? Fright Night? Not only does it sound painfully hokey, it makes the movie seem like some low-brow, dead-teenagers horror-flick, which it’s actually not. Though there are a few creepy scenes, their is simply not enough carnage or terror for this to be called horror. It’s a film more in the style of Zombieland, though more heavy on the action and less so on the humor.
The movie is about a high school boy, played by that one Russian dude from the new Star Trek movie, who is trying to protect his mother and girlfriend from what has to be the worst neighbor ever–a vampiric Colin Farell. Charlie finally decides enough is enough and sets out to put an end to Firth by stabbing him with the Stake of St. Deus Ex-Machina…er, that is, St. Michael…which somehow has the convenient ability to turn all of Firth’s victims human again instead of killing them. That sure would come in handy if, I don’t know, some of the main characters were to somehow be bitten during the course of the movie.
Vampire Colin Farell strengths include supernatural speed, super-healing, and super-strength. His weaknesses include a seeming inability to move at anything beyond what might charitably be called a brisk walk, as well as an inexplicable need to gloat every time he has the main character at his mercy. It never is explained why someone who can catch a crossbow bolt out of the air with his bare hands moves so slowly when attempting to stab a teenage boy with a wooden stake. Or, for that matter, why he needs to stab him when he has demonstrated the ability to hurl motorcycles approximately 100 feet through the air.
Even so, he is totally mesmerizing while he’s on the screen. He combines animal ferocity with an amiable, guy-next-door sort of personality. One minute he’s munching on apples, chugging beer, and watching reality TV shows about breast implants (or doing all three at once, in what has to be one of the biggest WTF moments in cinema),and the next he is attempting to rip your throat out with his teeth. He manages to make the transition seem absolutely seamless. He’s scary because it seems like he’s treating all the action like a big joke. His calm confidence as he swaggers from scene to scene is almost as freaky as that one part where he suddenly grows huge fangs, turns all monster-ey and eats a guy’s neck.
Pitted against him is a vampire-hunter so cartoonishly British that it’s painful. This vampire hunter is played by David Tennant, who attempts to compete with Firth for the most awesome actor award. Unfortunately, while Firth’s over-acting is great fun, David’s…isn’t. At times he manages to be genuinely amusing, but he mostly achieves this by making as many gags as possible every second he is on the screen in the hope that a few will turn out to be actually funny. His part in the movie feels less like an actual character and mroe like an extended cameo that went way, way too far.
Luckily for us all, he isn’t able to muck things up too much, because by the time he shows up the framework for the story has already been laid, and we’re too involved in the action o get pulled out by a gin-drinking, tattooed Dr. Who. The heroes, while not as much fun to watch as Firth, perhaps, are still very likeable, and, most importantly, believable.
So, all in all, as David Tennant would say, a jolly god time. The action scenes are well-staged, filled with excitement and comedy in equal measure. The best one has to be when McLovin/Red Mist turns into a one-armed vampire and attacks the main character, who is armed with a battleaxe. Pure gold. The plot is faced paced, and the vampire mythos is treated with the degree of coolness and badassery that it deserves. Those in the mood for light, rousing, Pirates-of-the -Carribbean-esque summer fare would do well to give this one a shot.