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Thinking … It’s Never Good to Do That at a Vampire Movie

The hot, blood-thirsty Colin Farrell in this updated version of the 1985 ”Fright Night“ film might well be the only reason to go see the tepid 3D flick

After his film re-debut in the comedy “Horrible Bosses” (which I enjoyed very much), Colin Farrell comes back with a vengeance in “Fright Night” in 3D, a remake of the 1985 horror film.

This version is rewritten by Marti Noxon and directed by Craig Gillespie with a lighter attitude to fit in with today’s generation.

If you haven’t seen the 1985 original film don’t fret; at 15 years old back then I didn’t either, and this is probably a good thing.

At first glance, the cast of “Fright Night” seemed strong. Besides Farrell and Imogen Poots’ convincing American accents, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee Toni Collette also changed her Australian tone for this film.

However, once the screening was over, I thought the plot of the film was weak – and therein lays the problem: thinking.

Jerry, the hot, blood-thirsty night creature played by Collin Farrell in the updated version of “Fright Night,” might well be the only reason to go see the tepid 3D flick.

Surprisingly, this version of the horror classic stands alone as one last lots-of-make-up-and-cheap-thrills summer flick with Farrell clearly heading a pack of cool young actors likely to please an ample age-range of movie goers.

A cameo appearance by Chris Sarandon, one of the original film’s cast members, is thrown in as a nod to the inspiration for the 2011 redo.

Unlike that "other" vampire who swoons the ladies, in “Fright Night” the less googly-eyed and grabby Jerry swoops down on an entire neighborhood. However, a lone, nerdy high school kid catches on to the night crawler and reluctantly sets out to prove that his hunky new neighbor isn’t what he seems; he has a dark ulterior motive for taking up residence in the Las Vegas suburb – a perfect cover for the eccentric dweller.

The unlikely pair of sweethearts-turned-vampire-hunters, Charlie (Anton Yeltchin) and Amy (Imogen Poots), give the high-school set in the audience some feel-good moments raising hopes for nerds everywhere that they too can land the pretty girl.

In the meantime, Ed (“Superbad’s” Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Charlie’s vampire-obsessed geeky cohort, is seething about being abandoned by his former BFF and busies himself by doing double duty; fighting off school bullies (Dave Franco and Reid Ewing) and sniffing out the starving vampire.

Peter Vincent (David Tennant) is the dark magician and vampire expert sought out to help kill off the growing vampire community. Tennant’s character resembles Criss Angel’s Vegas personality and delivers a Russell Brand type performance — he manages to keep things light until the heavy fighting takes over the entire second half of the film.

The usual scary movie tactics of dumb move after dumb move take us on an ever increasing level of frustration as the idiocy of the protagonists weaves its way through to pit good against evil. “Fright Night” also has more than a few funny moments, and between fits and starts once the film gets going (about 45 minutes into it), the fun begins but doesn’t last long enough.

Though I’m not a huge fan of wearing 3D glasses (on top of my prescription ones), or paying extra for this gimmick, the real 3D effects in “Fright Night” aren’t overly cumbersome or cheap; they come at you at the right moments which incidentally are few and far between.

“Fright Night” might not be screening at the right time of year as a summer blockbuster, and could have benefited from the Halloween season as a box office propeller. But, with Colin Farrell in 3D at the helm, this frighteningly unexciting film might just be this summer’s last don’t-think-much-and-enjoy movie for those millions of teenagers scared to go back to high school. 

Suzette Valle was recognized by Time Warner Cable as one of San Diego's Best Moms. She is the author of "101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up" (Walter FosterJr. Fall 2015), a reference book for kids. She has appeared on the "Dr. Phil" show discussing the effects of reality shows on families. Her posts have been featured on Fox,YahooMovies.com, and Movies.MSN.com. A mother of two, she lives in San Diego with her husband. She blogs about parenting and Hollywood's influence on children's daily lives and family values at www.MamarazziKnowsBest.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SuzetteValle.