'Fright Night' review: "Better than the original" is only just OK

**1/2 (out of four)

Jerry (Colin Farrell), the new dude in a Las Vegas neighborhood, might be a vampire. Actually, he definitely is. It’s only a matter of time until his next door neighbor, Charley (Anton Yelchin), accepts the signs and works to protect his mom (Toni Collette) and girlfriend (Imogen Poots). Not necessarily in that order.

The buzz: Just ’cause a mediocre ’80s movie looks dated now doesn’t mean it deserves a remake, especially since big and small screens are currently overflowing with vampire tales. Examples: Seemingly half of the movies and TV shows now playing.

The verdict: That’s an awfully heavy whiff of “been there, done that”—both because viewers could use a break from vampire stories and because “Fright Night” is so straightforward and surprise-free. It’s something of an achievement that the movie moderately succeeds anyway, mostly because of Farrell’s playful villainy and David Tennant’s awesome turn as an arrogant British magician from whom Charley seeks vampire-killing advice. The CGI-heavy movie’s not scary but intense, not hilarious but amusing, and not fully rewarding but fun in the details. Good enough.

Did you know? Charley defends staring at his sexy neighbor’s (Emily Montague) pants that read “Lucky” by explaining, “She’s the one that put the word on her butt; I’m just reading it.” Who says teenagers aren’t smart?

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Fridays at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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