I have nothing against straight-to-DVD sequels to theatrical films. If a movie does minimally well in the theater and there’s an audience for a lower-budget and less risky follow-up, I say why not? With that being said, sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. I actually enjoyed “30 Days of Night: Dark Days” and even “The Scorpion King” sequel and prequel. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about “Fright Night 2: New Blood.”
Charlie Brewster, his ex-girlfriend Amy, and best friend “Evil” Ed are part of a group of high school students studying abroad in Romania. At the same time, ghost-hunting reality TV host Peter Vincent is exploring the haunted castles of the area. Charlie’s professor, Gerri Dandridge, has a hidden motivation for teaching at a school full of teens. By night, she’s a vampire searching for the blood of virgins to bathe in to keep her beautiful form. The bloodthirsty creature sets her sights on Amy and only Charlie and Peter Vincent can stop her from taking the essence of the new moon virgin.
Why “Fright Night 2: New Blood” is even advertised as a sequel is beyond me. It’s more a remake of a remake, which is awfully (literally) redundant. Instead of the vampire antagonist being a male, this time around it’s a female. To add even more insult to injury, her name is Gerri Dandridge versus Jerry Dandridge. Wow, how original.
The uselessness of this “sequel” or “reboot” doesn’t end there. The characters in the film don’t even acknowledge the events in the first “Fright Night.” It’s as if they never happened. Charlie and Amy are broken up. “Evil” Ed isn’t a vampire. Peter Vincent is some loser who hosts a reality TV show about ghost-hunting and frequents topless bars. Yes, it really is as bad as it sounds.
“Fright Night 2: New Blood” didn’t have to be this bad. Granted, it had a lot going against it from the start. The original actors wouldn’t or weren’t asked to come back. Most fans of a film aren’t very forgiving when different actors take the place of familiar faces. The straight-to-DVD route is also a point of contention and warning to many that producers and studios are just trying make a desperate cash-grab. Filmmakers of this sequel could have at least put forth some sort of effort to do something decent with this new entry in the series.
They could have Charlie, Amy, and “Evil” Ed studying abroad in Romania and Gerri Dandridge following them to exact revenge for the death of her brother. “Evil” Ed could be a vampire who decided to try to be good but still battles with his temptation for human blood. All screenwriters needed to do was switch up some dialogue and add a few different establishing shots of the characters. I can’t see how it would have boosted the budget in any way.
“Fright Night 2: New Blood” is rated R for graphic violence, gore, adult situations, nudity, and language. The 1980’s “Fright Night” had a couple of scenes of nudity, but nothing compared to this. It’s very obvious that the nudity in this film is used to make up for a lack of talent and for a weak script.
Being a huge fan of the original “Fright Night” and its sequel, I was very disappointed in “Fright Night 2: New Blood.” I knew I shouldn’t have such high expectations, and I really don’t think I did. That’s why I was so sad about my whole experience seeing the film. I had low expectations already and even those weren’t met.
Very rarely do I come right out and say this, but avoid “Fright Night 2: New Blood” if you have fond memories of the 1980s movies and the 2011 remake. The only way anyone could like this is if they’ve never seen any other “Fright Night” movie and are looking for a low-budget vampire film to waste 90 minutes of their life. In that case, they need to pick up a copy of either versions of “Fright Night” and see what they’ve been missing.
“Fright Night 2: New Blood” is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a Digital Download.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
‘Fright Night’ Blu-ray Gives Hesitant Horror Fans Another Opportunity
‘Fright Night’ Remake is a Successful Update
DVD Review: “Blade” Anime Series