This is a movie that I originally saw in the cinema last year, but with it coming up to Halloween, I thought I would crack it out and watch it again. This is one of those movies that has that slightly cheesy hint to it that you don’t mind watching it again.
This is a remake of a film by the same name made in the mid 80’s. I’ve never seen the original, so I can’t compare the two. What I will say is that the main reasons I originally wanted to see it and still enjoy it is for David Tennant and Colin Farrell. Both of these actors are excellent in their roles
The basic premise of the film is that a teenager, named Charley (played by Star Trek’s Anton Yelich), is convinced that his new neighbour, Jerry (played by Farrell) is actually a vampire. Fearing for the lives of his girlfriend and his mother, he turns to Las Vegas Illusionist, Peter Vincent (played by the fabulous Tennant) to try to get help in dealing with his new neighbour.
To be honest, the film isn’t very complicated and it does take a little while for it to really kick off. Most of the first 35 to 40 minutes is all the groundwork to the final act of the film. We, the audience, know that there is something really off with Jerry, but apart from Charley and Charley’s friend Ed (played by the vastly under used Christopher Mintz-Plasse from Kick-Ass and Superbad) everyone else seems oblivious to Jerry’s nocturnal habits.
Jerry is the traditional vampire in the sense that all the well-known stereotypical traits of being a vampire apply to him. He can’t stand sun-light, he has to feed on human blood to survive, he must be invited in to the house (though on this point he is very inventive on flushing out Charley and his family) and the traditional stake through the heart and decapitation are the ways to kill him. This is not your sparkly, touchy feely brooding vampire, people. This is the real deal!
Farrell seems to enjoy hamming up the screen as the bad boy vampire. He slips into this roguish villain with such an ease that Farrell more than makes up for the rather plodding plot. There is such a dry wit to the character of Jerry, that you can’t help but laugh especially when he acts as if the cross that Charley wields in an attempt to ward him off is hurting him. Yes, Jerry is the villain of the piece, but he is one of the main draws to film.
The other main draw, at least for me, was Tennants vampire hunter illusionist, Peter Vincent. Tennant plays such a different character from his spin on Dr Who, that I was in tears of laughter from the moment he walked on screen. He is a washed up drunk, forced to make a living in Vegas since he thinks his vampire hunting days are over. He is like that Rock and Roll star who is growing old disgracefully. And when Farrell and Tennant come face to face, it is just magic to watch on screen.
For me, if it hadn’t been for these two actors, I wouldn’t give the film as high a rating as I did.
The special effects are ok, but when watching it on the TV after seeing the film in 3D at the cinema, it loses some of the more jumpy bits. I don’t know if the film was shot in 3D, but a few times I did jump when things flew at the screen.
For a horror film, it isn’t very scary, but there are a few gross bits thrown in especially when Charley goes snooping in Jerry’s house. The big showdown wasn’t frightening but it did have an uneasiness about it when both Charley and Peter are trapped in the cellar with all of Jerry’s new vampires rising from the ground.
Overall, the film is a bit of fun to watch and I did really like Tennant and Farrell in this. The other cast members were ok, but didn’t make very much of an impression on me. If it is on the television, I would say give it a whirl. It will at least kill a couple of hours and may make you smile.