Fright Night 2: The New Blood Blu-ray Review


Written by Steve Pattee

Blu-ray released by 20th Century Fox

 

 

Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez
Written by Matt Venne
2013, Region A, 83 minutes, Unrated
Blu-ray released on October 1st, 2013

Starring:
Will Payne as Charley Brewster
Jaime Murray as Gerri Dandridge
Sean Power as Peter Vincent
Sacha Parkinson as Amy Peterson
Chris Waller as Evil Ed Bates

 


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Promo ecards for Fright Night 2: The New Blood
Click images to enlarge

 

Review:

 

As someone who could not care less about remakes, prequels, sequels, and reboots, the announcement of a release that's a sequel to a remake doesn't much faze me. In fact, when came to Fright Night 2: The New Blood, the follow up to 2011's Fright Night reimagining, I suspect I had more of an open mind than most. Having really enjoyed the outing with Colin Farrell starring as the big bad, I had no qualms with its follow-up prior to seeing it. Granted, I had much lower expectations – it is a direct-to-video release with virtually no star power and a much lower budget – but I certainly was willing to give it a go and hope for the best. Unfortunately, I didn't get what I hoped for.

Taking place in Romania, the film follows a group of American students (played by British actors) as they tour the country learning about art history. Inevitably, Charley discovers that the art professor is a vampire. But she's not just any old bloodsucker, she's the infamous countess/serial killer Elizabeth Bathory. This lady would make Ted Bundy blush with her kill count.

Needless to say, once he finds out that the hot teacher is making meals out of people, Charley takes it upon himself to enlist the aid of his buddy Evil Ed and ex-girlfriend Amy to bring down Gerri. After some convincing that vampires do exist, Ed tracks down the TV-famous monster hunter Peter Vincent – who just happens to be shooting in Romania that week - and promises a payment of a few grand if he helps them out. And you can figure out the rest.

I know what you are asking. If this is Fright Night 2, why would Charley's friends not believe him? Didn't they just go through this two years ago? And why the hell would they go to Romania, a country that has its own vampire history. Well, you see, contrary to the "2" in Fright Night 2, this is by no means a sequel. If anything, it's a reboot. And I'll be damned if I didn't spend the first 20 minutes of the film in a state of confusion on why everyone was acting like they've never dealt with a vampire before.

This glaring problem does a good job summing up the major issue with Fright Night 2: the writing. From the title card onward, it's a sloppy mess. Aside from the fact that it's clearly not a sequel, the subtitle of the film, The New Blood, makes no sense at all in context of the movie. The names of the characters are the same from the first film, the only thing new is that they are portrayed by different actors. And certainly the person who decided on this title wasn't referring to Gerri. Remember, she's really Elizabeth Bathory, so she's a few centuries old.

To be fair, it's not so much the story but the script that is awful. The dialog from every player is absolutely cringe worthy at times. I shit you not, at one point Peter Vincent yells to Gerri, "This is Fright Night, bitch!" My eyes hurt from the rolling they did watching this film.

However, all of this doesn't fall on writer Matt Venne, because director Eduardo Rodriguez does hold some of the blame for Fright Night 2's failings. The story itself, while vanilla, is doable in capable hands. Kids go a foreign country, discover a monster, montage, battle, celebrate. We've seen it a thousand times, and we'll see it a thousand more. But with the exception of Jaime Murray's performance of the vampire seductress, the entire cast is either flat or, in the case of Chris Waller, completely over the top. The Evil Ed character in both the original Fright Night and its 2011 take is annoying but likeable. Here, he's just annoying. In the previous incarnations, Brewster's best bud is an incredibly sympathetic character underneath his abrasive personality, and he is inevitably likeable. But not here. Under the guidance of Rodriguez, Evil is just an unfunny, loud douchebag who brings down each scene he's in.

If there's any saving grace to this movie, it's easily Jaime Murray. She deliciously balances sex appeal with pure evil, and her constant teasing of Charley and his friends is always amusing. With her portrayal of Gerri, you can see what the film could have been, because I would happily watch a prequel centering on her character provided there was a different screenwriter.

Fright Night 2: The New Blood isn't necessarily bad as it is disappointing. There are a few scenes in the film that are very well done, including a fantastic part in a subway that is the highlight of the film, but the script and questionable directing decisions handcuff it to being nothing more than a typical, underwhelming sequel. If anything, I got introduced to Murray, and I'll be looking forward to more from her in the future.

 

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Promo ecards for Fright Night 2: The New Blood
Click images to enlarge

 

Video and Audio:


Presented in 1.78:1 1080p, Fright Night 2: The New Blood has a gorgeous picture. Most of the movie takes place at night or in dark clubs or castles (naturally), and detail is never lost in the shadows. Skin tones are natural and colors pop when necessary.

The offered DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is impressive as well, with ample use of the surrounds as well as a nice workout for the subwoofer.

 

Special Features:

 

  • Commentary with Eduardo Rodriguez, Alison Rosenzweig, and Michael Gaeta
  • Fright Night Webisodes
  • Dracula Revealed


While the features are pretty standard, the Fright Night Webisodes are worth a watch. Running a total of over 11 minutes, they are brief clips from Peter Vincent's TV show from the film. Watching these it's apparent that Sean Power was completely underutilized in the actual movie because where he isn't that impressive with his role as the monster hunter in the film, he really delivers in these webisodes.

Dracula Revealed runs just over six minutes and is an interesting little featurette that briefly discusses Bathory's role in history and her relationship to Dracula.

 

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Promo ecards for Fright Night 2: The New Blood
Click images to enlarge

 

Grades:

 

Movie: Grade Cover
Cover
Cover
Video: Grade
Audio: Grade
Features: Grade
Overall: Grade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to comment on this review? You can leave one below or head over to the HorrorTalk Review Forum.

 

 

 

About The Author
Steve Pattee
Author: Steve Pattee
Administrator, US Editor
He's the puppet master. You don't see him, but he pulls the strings that gets things done. He's the silent partner. He's black ops. If you notice his presence, it's the last thing you'll notice — because now you're dead. He's the shadow you thought you saw in that dark alleyway. You can have a conversation with him, and when you turn around to offer him a cup of coffee, he's already gone.
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