Just when you thought you saw every trick in the Vampire book…

Fright Night opens this week with the 978th (unofficially) Vampire movie to come out in the past few years. This film; however, isn’t concerned with romance, mythology or even scares necessarily. Instead, it delivers a brand of fun that’s all its own.

Charley (Anton Yelchin) is a former nerd in the Las Vegas suburbs whose popularity is threatened by his old friendship with Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a geeky guy who’s displeased with his friend’s newfound popularity. Ed is also convinced that Charley’s new neighbor, Jerry (Colin Farrell), is a vampire.

Charley dismisses his friend’s fears, leaving Ed alone in a confrontation with Jerry during which his fears are confirmed and Ed is transformed into “Evil Ed”, the nerdiest vampire of them all, and flees from view.

Charley notes his Ed’s disappearance (which for some reason doesn’t worry Ed’s parents) and begins to conduct his own investigation. Eventually having his fears confirmed when Jerry kidnaps his buxom neighbor (Emily Montague) and turns her into a vampire.

With nowhere else to turn, Charley consults Peter Vincent, a loutish Vegas performer (David Tennant) who purports to be a vampire killer. Peter isn’t interested leaving Charley to fend for himself and protect his mother (Toni Collette) and girlfriend (Imogen Poots) from Jerry’s wrath.

Fright Night attempts to walk a fine line between campy fun and true scares. This is an extremely difficult tone to capture, one that hasn’t really been pulled off successfully since the original “Scream” film.

It’s that struggle with the tone that keeps this film from being truly great. Too often it veers into either straight horror or a head-on comedy. It never really hits that sweet spot of something that keeps a grin on our face while putting us on our toes for the next big thrill.

But that tonal mishandling only keeps this film from being great. It’s still good. In fact, at times, it’s very good. The film’s dedication to having fun rather than delivering thrills serves it very well in allowing the film to separate itself from standard horror fare. This one isn’t only thrilling, but it’s also entertaining beyond the scares.

It’s buoyed greatly by the performances of Colin Farrell and David Tennant. The former oozing as much charm as sadism as a ghoulish bloodsucker with the latter bombastic as the sloshed Vegas washout. These two are in full camp mode while staying completely real. They combine to capture fully the tone the film is after in their performances, even if the film itself doesn’t capture that tone itself. These two performances are the standout.

The pace is another major asset for this film. It dispenses with a lot of the exposition and simply dives right into its vampire story. So much so that it’s almost as if watching the trailer is a prerequisite for knowing where you are in this film. And that’s a compliment. Too many such films get bogged down in unnecessary exposition. Fright Night dives in full bore and doesn’t delay its fun. It’s ensconced in Vampires almost from minute one.

Fright Night is a refreshingly fun take on vampire films that remains fun while delivering a legitimate horror movie. While it never quite hits the tone it’s after in terms of balancing its tounge-in-cheek humor with well-designed thrills, it does make for an enjoyable ride throughout.

And that’s a take on vampires you won’t soon get sick of.