FRIGHT NIGHT (Rated R for ongoing harsh profanity, a fair amount of blood & gore but very little fright, some sexuality): Whether you're going to appreciate this updated version of the campy 1985 original depends on how much you appreciate a needless remake overrun with equally needless profanity, and Marti Nixon's version of Tom Holland's original script in a new setting - an overdeveloped suburban sprawl near Las Vegas, and cranking up the language (much of it improvised, of course) to a point where the sh-word & f-bomb comprise at least 40% of the dialog. (Are you insulted by Tinsel Town's ongoing display of what psychologists call "verbal rigidity" in place of cleverly written dialog?)
The original was a delight, with tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek from start to finish, well made with all the vampire attractions gleefully on display and with Roddy McDowall's over-the-top campiness as an actor who hunts vampires.
Director Gillespie, most of the time, maintains the tongue-in-cheek campiness as well, and he is supported by a strong cast. The point is, there's really no need to remake a film that still stands as satisfyingly entertaining as the original.
The story's pretty much the same: nice, likable Charley (Anton Yelchin) lives next door to newcomer affable Jerry (Colin Farrell), who turns out to be a bona fide vampire, though at first no one realizes it. Jerry's a nondescript, beefy fellow who only goes out at night (but, hey, it's Vegas); gradually his true identity is discovered by Charley & geeky buddy Ed, and from then on it's a cat/mouse game between Jerry and everyone else in the neighborhood, with our hero aided by phony vampire hunter Peter (David Tennant replacing McDowall in a less inspired role) to the final CGI obligatory clash.
There's one inspired difference: these vampires don't just turn to green goo & dust; they explode like fireworks. And there are plenty of them.
Gillespie handles the action & comedy smoothly, and stays out of the way with his cast, allowing them to have a ball pretty much on their own. The 106-minutes zip by well, but it seems to suggest that by now there's no originality left in Tinsel Town. (Grade: B-)