Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) seemingly has it all. He’s popular with a beautiful girlfriend (Imogen Poots) but something isn’t right about his next door neighbor Jerry (Colin Farrell). Jerry never comes out during the day but that’s not surprising; they live in Las Vegas and a large portion of people work all night and sleep all day. When Charley discovers Jerry is a vampire with a little help from his former best friend (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), he enlists the help of a famed vampire hunter (David Tennant) who turns out to be less than he appears. Faced with his family being vampire chow, Charley engages in battle with the vampire with everything at stake.
A remake of the 1985 original, with some slight variants, has a lot going against it going in. The way vampire films are perceived has changed radically in the near three decades since the original debuted. Credit Marti Nixon for incorporating this into the new film. If the characters hadn’t mentioned Twilight, or that vampires are more predator than they are misunderstood, it would be out of place because that’s what a modern teenager would first think of when the concept of vampires are discussed. The fact that it reflects pop culture now is going to leave it a bit dated in the future but for now it gives it a distinguishing feature from its original.
It also has a pretty good cast for a remake of a cult horror film. Anton Yelchin is fairly capable in the lead role but its Colin Farrell that absolute shines throughout the film. Farrell seems to be having a grand time hamming it up as Jerry, the blood-sucking vampire, and anyone who would think his vampire is smoldering like Edward Cullen has serious issues. Jerry is a vicious killer with no qualms, and no hesitations, and it makes it fun. He’s a bad guy with no qualms on being evil, enjoying the acts and mowing down scenery wherever he goes. It’s kind of fun to watch him because he’s given a character with a singular motivation and isn’t a dumb villain, either. The interplay between Charley and Jerry becomes interesting because the two aren’t dumb. Jerry knows that Charley is on to what he is, and Charley knows that Jerry is stalking him like prey as well. It becomes a fun cat and mouse game between them.
The problem with the film is that it appears to be aiming towards more of a takedown of the modern vampire films, The Twilight Saga in particular, but doesn’t want to go far enough in its efforts. It has everything needed to be a great mockery of the modern vampire film, the sort of film with the teeth that Vampires Suck completely missed the point on, while also being a great vampire film but doesn’t make that final step. The film has plenty of comedy and some genuine scare moments but can’t settle on being a scary film or a comedy with some scary moments in it.
It remains a competent and entertaining remake of a cult film but nothing more. That’s not a bad thing, as the film settles for being good but not brilliant, but the fact that it could’ve been is a minor disappointment in what overall is a majorly entertaining film.
Director: Craig Gillespie Notable Cast: Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Christopher Mintz-Plasse Writer(s): Marti Nixon, based on the screenplay by Tom Holland
Scott Sawitz is an Inside Pulse original. He's also been featured on The Ultimate Fighter.com, Fox Sports.com, Nerdcore Movement.com, CagePotato.com, Inside Fights.com and Film Arcade.net (among others). When Scott isn't writing about film he's making his own. Check out Drunk Justice Productions right here.