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David Tennant in 'Fright Night'

When Fright Night, a merry, updated remake of a 1985 horror hit, opens today (Aug. 19), it should help firmly establish Doctor Who vet David Tennant in Hollywood.

In Fright Night, he has a bloody good time — accent on the bloody — playing a popular Las Vegas entertainer who reluctantly helps a local teenage boy (Anton Yelchin) battle a vampire (Colin Farrell) who has taken up residence in the suburban house next door to the youth.

Tennant’s character is named Peter Vincent – London-born Roddy McDowall played the role in the original movie – and he’s a hard-drinking, high-living magician with an interest in the occult and scantily clad babes. This means that Tennant, who shows up for an extended period of time only when the movie is more than halfway done, gets to lounge about firing off droll, bored-with-it-all comments while dressed in skin-tight leather pants, sans shirt, and with a bottle of booze in his hand.

The former good Doctor brings a winning louche charm to the role, landing his laugh lines with ease. And fear not, Who fans, Tennant even gets to turn semi-action hero and goes mano-a-vampire with the bloodsucker.

While Fright Night provides a sturdy launch pad for Tennant as a movie actor, it also marks another successful step in Farrell’s career rehabilitation.  The Irish-born actor, after getting the big build-up in Hollywood only to squander it by appearing in such duds as Miami Vice and S.W.A.T., has for the past several years been carefully resuscitating his reputation with impressive performances in smaller, high-quality films such as In Bruges and Ondine.

In furthering his comeback, earlier this summer he turned up in a hilarious cameo, nearly unrecognizable with a bald pate and a paunch, in the R-rated, raunchy comedy, Horrible Bosses. Farrell follows up in Fright Night with a solid, menacing turn, though one leavened with sly humor, as the vampire next door.

Also appearing in the movie, as Yelchin’s hottie girlfriend, is young British actress Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later and Jane Eyre), who has always earned extra points in our book for having the guts to stick with her original, snicker-worthy moniker.


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By Leah Rozen