I loved the original 1985 Tom Holland film. It was fun and scary and survived multiple viewings. So I was somewhat hesitant about this big-budgeted Dreamworks remake.
The updated version relocates to Las Vegas, where Charley Brewster (Anton Yeltchin of STAR TREK) and his mom (Toni Collette of THE SIXTH SENSE) live in a cookie cooker subdivision. Charlie is in high school and only recently hangs out with the "cool people" and has a cute girlfriend, Amy, that loves him. But his ex-best friend "Evil" Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) insists on meeting with him. If he doesn't agree he says he'll email embarrassing video (of them playing superhero games) to his new "cool" friends.
So Charley meets his nerdy friend who explains that people are missing in the neighborhood and that it's because of the new neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell). Jerry is a vampire. Of course, Charley doesn't believe him at first. But when he sees a beautiful next door neighbor go to Jerry's and hears screaming, he calls the police. The police dismiss it as a crank call. Charley investigates and even breaks into Jerry's house, where he finds the woman locked in a hidden room. All the while Jerry is aware that Charley is there--and watches him try to rescue the damsel in distress. What happens next is a surprise--and utterly convinces Charley that Jerry is indeed one of the undead.
It's at this point that Charley goes to find a vampire-killing expert. This is Las Vegas performer Peter Vincent (David Tennant of DOCTOR WHO) who turns out to be a drunken douche-bag.
The first hour of the film follows the original movie closely. Then, halfway through, when Charley's house is set aflame and his family is sent running , it becomes much more of its own movie, which I thought was a smart thing to do. It's also ingenious having Peter Vincent as a Vegas act. Best of all, actor Colin Farrell fits the part of the vampire well, creepy and sinister. There's also a cameo by Chris Sarandon, who portrayed the original Jerry. The original FRIGHT NIGHT, along with LOST BOYS, started that trend in the mid-80's with vampires' faces morphing into a ferocious bat-like-animal face, which had been seen in everything up until BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Here, the end transformation is a computer generated effect, portraying a creature with an all too wide mouth bursting with fangs
This redux of FRIGHT NIGHT, as with the recent re-imagining of PLANET OF THE APES, is exactly what a remake should be, an homage to the original while standing on its own feet. Highly recommended.