Remade from a 1985 horror-film "classic" – can there be such a thing? – this is a pretty droll and well-made entertainment.
Its success is largely down to a smart, irreverent screenplay by Marti Noxon, which in turn may have drawn a cast rather classier than a genre picture would usually command. Charley (Anton Yelchin) is a high-schooler with a nice mum (Toni Collette), a hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots), and a new neighbour called Jerry (Colin Farrell) who's... a bit scary. In fact, Charley wonders if Jerry might be a vampire – his estranged friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) certainly thought so, and he's just disappeared. Next time Jerry appears at their door Charley is careful not to let him in, but for how long can he fend off this predator? The director Craig Gillespie gives his cast room to breathe, and makes good sinister use of the Vegas subdivision in which the story's set: for instance, a vampire could get away with black-out curtains over his windows because so many locals work the Vegas night-shift and sleep during the day. Yelchin holds the centre as the fearful innocent; the film's wild card is a boozy magician with a sideline in vampirology, played by David Tennant in sly parody of Russell Brand. The digital effects get out of hand, as ever, though there's some witty byplay on vampire lore, and on the best way to kill a bloodsucker: when someone tries to shoot Farrell with a silver bullet, he picks out the offending projectile from his body, shakes his head and says, "Werewolf only." If you're a teeny bit sick of the tremulous Twilight and want giggles with the gore, this is a safe bet.
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