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Fright Night

Box-office fatigue in the US is misplaced for this highly entertaining, razor-sharp vampire piece.

Director: Craig Gillespie
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Collin Farrell, David Tennant
****

If its recent output is anything to go by, every Hollywood executive walks around with a card in his wallet bearing the sentence “How to make a buck” and the words “remakes”, “vampires” and “3D” embossed below.

So it’s a surprise that Fright Night – a stereoscopic redo of the 1985 bloodsucking comedy-horror of the same name – faltered at the US box office upon its release last month. Its poor performance may be evidence that cinemagoers are growing tired of the same old tricks, but in this case, their cynicism would be misplaced: Fright Night is one of the most purely entertaining films of the year.

The ultimate nightmare for any awkward high schooler, Charley (Yelchin) is forced to defend his mother and new girlfriend from their roguish neighbour Jerry, after residents of their Las Vegas suburb begin to disappear.

Charley’s solution is an unusual one: he decides to seek the expertise of the stage magician and supposed vampire expert Peter Vincent (Tennant), who is quickly revealed to have more in common with Russell Brand than Van Helsing.

As well as juggling elements of high-school drama, character-based comedy, creeping horror and action movie set pieces, the film even manages to make a razor-sharp comment on the self-imposed solitude that 21st-century suburban living means for so many.

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