Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming; previews on Twitter (twitter.com/chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram: instagram.com/raypride. Twitter: twitter.com/rayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)
“People change,” observes someone or other in this remake of the 1985 original written and directed by Tom Holland. Marti Noxon (co-writer of “I Am Number Four” and credited with twenty-three episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) scripts a spunky teen-themed vampire comic thriller. Adolescents whose skin clears up are not the only ones undergoing metamorphosis in a Las Vegas suburb plagued with foreclosures. Toni Collette (“Little Miss Sunshine”) plays a single mom and Century 21 real estate agent who finds a singular use for one of her “For Sale” lawn signs. Anton Yelchin (“The Beaver,” “Star Trek”) plays her son Charley, a high-school senior who is morphing from playing with his childhood pal to going all the way with his cool-crowd girlfriend: “I’d rather have a life instead of making shit up.” But Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is not making up all the disappearances of classmates and neighbors that he is mapping. The epicenter is the house next door to Charley’s. Jerry (Colin Farrell) claims to work the night shift. That’s supposed to explain why he covers all his windows for daytime slumber. If director Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl,” “Mr. Woodcock”) makes one big slip, it is calibrating Jerry’s sly, sexy, silly mien. A recurring joke is his improbable name for a 400-year-old neckbiter and blood drinker. In league with a louche Brit headlining a vampire stage extravaganza on the strip, Charley defends his mom and sweetheart from Jerry and his fanged tribe half-buried in his muddy crawlspace. As in “Near Death,” about another young couple out west with sunlight and incisor issues, a loophole is scripted in the eternal law of vampiricism so the changed get a chance to change back, thanks to St. Michael’s stake. With David Tennant, Imogen Poots, Dave Franco, Reid Ewing, Will Denton, Chris Sarandon, Lisa Loeb. 101m. (Bill Stamets)
“Fright Night” opens Friday.