Much like family, you rarely get to choose who your neighbours are. Unfortunately for high school student, Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin), his new neighbour, Jerry (Colin Farrell), isn't so much a pain in the arse as a pain in the neck - literally.
Turns out Jerry is a vampire, which would explain the blacked out windows on his house and his only appearing after dark. It would also seem to validate the theory of Charley's one-time best friend, Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who has been mapping the recent spate of disappearances and murders in their outer Las Vegas suburb, placing Jerry's house at its epicentre.
Charley comes around to Ed's way of thinking a little too late and when he does, has the same trouble convincing his mum, Jane (Toni Collette), and girlfriend, Amy (the unfortunately named Imogen Poots), that Jerry is a member of the living dead. And why not? Farrell hasn't resonated this kind of sexy heat for some time. Fangs or no fangs, I'd be stopping by Jerry's for a cup of sugar.
Of course when Jerry, having tolerated Charley's accusations and intrusions with good humour long enough, decides to go on the defensive, all hell breaks loose and Charley and Amy go in search of the only person they think can help them: Peter Vincent (a scene-stealing David Tennant), a Las Vegas lounge act who smites sexy female vamps in his nightly stage show.
If all of this sounds familiar, that's because it is. Craig Gillespie's Fright Night (penned by Marti Noxon) is a remake of Tom Holland's 1985 horror-comedy of the same name (minus the 3D). The surprising thing is that, rather than ruining a classic, this '00s update very much keeps the spirit of the original intact, delighting in the humour and horror rather than desecrating the similarly themed source material.
A remake of an '80s film, in 3D, that works? Who'd a thunk it?! (Actually, the 3D makes the visuals a little too dark but never mind.) Fright Night 3D is good fun with Farrell, as the sexy vampire (his predecessor Chris Sarandon makes a cameo), and the leather pants-clad Tennant taking top honours. In fact, the one-time Time Lord seems to relish the absence of his Doctor Who PG rating, taking to swearing like an inebriated duck to water.
Horror fans and classicists may not be so easily sold on this remake (my viewing companion was hesitant to give the film a thumbs-up) but I was converted, or turned as the case may be. Fright Night 3D is proof that, if Hollywood must do remakes (and it seems they must), than they need not all be anaemically wit and style free.
*The original Fright Night, starring Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale and Roddy McDowall, has been released on DVD (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) to coincide with the cinema release of the remake. It's also a fun film, especially if approached with an '80s frame of mind, and a perfect excuse to revisit an old favourite or, like me, discover it for the first time.