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This straight-to-video sequel to the Colin Firth remake is dumb and fun, but probably not really all that good...
Fox / 100 Minutes / 2013 / Rated R / Street Date: October 1, 2013
By day, Gerri Dandridge is a sexy professor, but by night she transforms into a real-life vampire with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. So when a group of high school students travels abroad to study in Romania, they find themselves ensnarled in Gerri’s chilling web of lust and terror. Charley and “Evil” Ed must stop Gerri from drinking and bathing in the blood of a “new moon virgin,” who just so happens to be Charley’s ex-girlfriend, Amy. They enlist help from Peter Vincent, the vampire-hunting host of a reality show called, “Fright Night,” to drive a stake through Gerri’s plan and save Amy from a fate far worse than death.
In case you are confused, to untangle the Fright Night mess, consider the history:
1985 - The original Fright Night hit the theaters
1988 - Fright Night Part 2 tried to be a continuation – revenge of the vampire’s sister
2011 - Fright Night is remade and set in dusty Las Vegas with Colin Farrell
2013 - Fright Night 2: New Blood is mostly a remake of the original in Romania
The 2011 film is ignored here. This 2013 version takes only two key elements from the 1988 sequel. The first is a female vampire on a rampage. And the second is that the film emphasizes stylized cinematography, which looks terrific. The remaining elements recycle most of the characters, themes and first discoveries from the 1985 original film. I suppose this probably works best if you haven’t seen the prior films.
What’s nice this time around is that the film has a brisk pace exhibiting a fairly grand looking, dashing production and a decent cast, especially Jaime Murray as Gerri, the vamp in heat. Though we don’t really get to know her; she just vamps! Romania looks alluring, dark, dank and foreboding. The women are sensuously presented, blood-for-life and life-for-blood is repeatedly emphasized. And some exposition on Gerri Dandridge and later twists in the finale try to freshen up the storyline. And, what the hell - a strippers club is thrown in for fun.
The story and Yaron Levy’s flashy cinematography is, admittedly, fun to float through. However, this eventual nightmare tries to glide over some serious plot holes. If you look closely, some continuity problems abound. Someone’s neck is feasted upon – on both sides – yet in following frames the victim’s neck is unscathed. Later, torn clothes reveal a wound evident in one frame, and the next frame the clothing is whole, then this repeats back and forth. Hello? Worse, the film sets up some rules, then boldly breaks the rules leaving the viewer thinking, “Huh?”
Will Payne plays the lead Charley, and Payne is alright, but poor Charlie is written as a wet mop, unfortunately. Three supporting characters - Amy, Ed and Peter Vincent - had the best character arcs in the original film, especially Peter Vincent. But here, Amy feels like she just tags along with things, and Peter Vincent doesn’t connect with anyone. ‘Evil’ Ed (Chris Waller) is more involved in the first half of the film, but Ed’s ultimate pathos is sadly cut. Curiously, Waller infuses ample homage to Stephen Geoffreys’ terrific, crackling performance as ‘Evil’ Ed from the `85 original.
Fright Night 2 New Blood is kind of dumb fun, to be honest. It’s great to look at, can emphasize wild style over continuity, and tries to do its own thing with salvaged material. However, may we all agree that it will be a sad day should this storyline ever get recycled yet again?
Lastly, the unrated option of the film includes slightly longer screen time of some gore.