What’s it About?
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 travel abroad to study in Romania, they find themselves ensnared in Gerri’s chilling web of lust and terror.
“Fright Night 2: New Blood”
Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez
Um. I’m confused. What did I just watch? I really didn’t know too much about the back story or production info on this movie going in. I mean, I did see the remake of Tom Holland’s “Fright Night” a couple of years ago and I can’t say I really enjoyed it except for a couple of cool vamp sequences with Colin Farrell but as a whole it kinda blew chunks, imo. Sorry for the image. Farrell’s film does have it’s fans though and I suppose a sequel was warranted since the film was popular and had a good turnout at the B.O.
It was decided by some suits somewhere, though, that they would get Eduardo Rodriguez (El Gringo) and Matt Venne (White Noise 2 and Mirrors 2) to take a shot at a sequel/remake of sorts. I mean, Venne, (Venne also adapted Stephen King’s Bag of Bones) seems to know his stuff when it comes to direct to video B flicks. But I don’t know what to make of “Fright Night 2: New Blood.” It appears as if it is a STV release, obviously.
Is it a reboot or a remake. Is it a remake of the original but trying to be a sequel? Is it a sequel disguised as a remake? You know what? Who gives a shit, really? “Fright Night 2: New Blood” gives direct to video horror B pictures a bad name. These types of films are sometimes fun to revel in with their trashy, over the top cheesiness and camp. Some well placed humor, gore and subjective goofiness isn’t terribly bad for those who knows what they are getting into. Some DTV sequels have been corny but enjoyable like From Dusk Till Dawn, Hellraiser and even the aforementioned White Noise 2. Hell, even “Stir of Echoes” had a DTV sequel. But “FN2: New Blood” botches it and botches it right out of the gate.
Rodriguez’s film switches the action to Romania. Romania? Really? It is because that makes sense to have the story take place there or is it because they get some tax breaks for shooting a no budget piece of crap there? Anyway, yeah, it’s Romania but I suppose it is relevant since…well, I’ll get to that in a minute. It seems the “Fright Night Gang” or rather Charlie (Will Payne from Isaac), Amy (Sacha Parkinson of The Mill) and “Evil” Ed (Chris Waller) are all in Romania attending University and it appears that Amy and Charlie are estranged or have broken up their relationship. Ed seems pretty much like the loud, obnoxious dude that Stephen Geoffreys played in Holland’s film. He’s annoying, geeky and a bit of an outcast and is always giving Charlie grief.
So, anyway, their University Prof of European Art History is none other than the beautiful and exotic Gerri Dandridge (Jaime Murray of Defiance and Warehouse 13). Um, Gerri Dandridge/Jerry Dandridge? So, what is she? Another sibling like Regine, his sister played by Julie Carmen, in the original sequel to Holland’s film? Or did they change him into a her just for the hell of it? Who knows but she is singled out by the very watchful Charlie as he catches her making out (In a pretty steamy girl on girl scene that is pretty transparent) with and feeding on a young nubile woman in her old pad across from where Ed and Charlie are staying. You know the rest, gang. If you have seen Holland’s film then the rest is moot. Charlie freaks out, He thinks Prof Gerri is a vampire, Ed and Amy do not believe him, he sees Gerri feeding on others and so on and so on.
In this incarnation, so called “monster hunter” Peter Vincent (Sean Power) is actually a ghost hunter dude that has his own reality show but of course, staying true to the canon, Vincent is a sort of a non-believing jerk. Evil Ed (who is obsessed with Peter) shows Charlie that an episode of Vincent’s show is shooting in Romania. Ed also shows Charlie, on his tablet, a series of online horror magazines that explores European monster legends.
While there is enough allusion to kill a bulletproof poet, it appears that Dandridge is the actually Princess Elizabeth Bathory or the Blood Countess who was infamously known in the region for bathing in the blood of virgins or some morbid shit like that. In a pretty cool moment in the film, the history of Bathory is unfolded in a comic book manner which resembles a motion comic with a Mike Mignola vibe. It is probably the only really original and unique thing in the film.
But nothing else really works here. The actors have no chemistry. Payne is overly hysterical and Power’s Vincent is diminutive and has absolutely no charm to speak of. He hangs out in strip clubs and drinks like a fish but he just feels like a stereotype. Unfortunately, Rodriguez’s movie has no B movie flair, either. It is full of one underdone and lackluster sequence after another. Murray is actually a bit sexy when she isn’t vamped out but when she is, she is just another dull vamp broad.
She runs around sniffing the air, barking, licking her bloody fingers, roaring (that was another thing that annoyed me: the vamps roar like hungry Lions) and leaping around but we have seen it all before and done way better. There is an annoying chase sequence when Gerri chases Amy and Charlie through subway tunnels that could possibly give someone a strobe light related seizure.
Like I stated earlier, if you recall Holland’s film well, you will know how this version unfolds. Ed gets turn, goes after Vincent, Gerri turn Amy, Charlie goes after Amy, Vincent has a change of heart and he helps Charlie go after Bathory, it ends up in a ludicrous climax that involves a huge pool of human blood and a derivative cat and mouse game. Yada Yadda Yadda. I have to blame Rodriguez for not getting to the heart of what makes a genre flick work, even if it is a low budget DTV. Vennes’ characters appear hip and funny at the film’s start but they just turn into predictably hollow dumb asses.
Ed’s annoying and acts completely ridiculous as he spends most of his time laughing and braying like an ass, Amy is just ho hum and has zero appeal. Vincent is by far the worst character here. He’s a one dimensional and languid. And when called to be funny, he comes across really flat. Gerri/Lady Drac is just so so. She looks the part but she has no range and just serves to walk around with blood all over her. They are all just a gang of unlike-able people. Everything else is apparently uninspired, the cgi is lacking and the vamp sequences reek. I’ve seen better vamp action in a Scooby-Doo cartoon. The gore, though, is plentiful.
The film also seems hurried and very shabby. There is some mystery and mood right before Gerri appears as the Professor at the University. Rodriguez tries to set up the atmosphere but like a balloon the movie bursts and fizzles out. Don’t get me wrong, I like cliches in a B flick once in a while but even here they are forced, trite and unfunny. Especially when Ed and Vincent are left to supply the humor. In one really bad sequence we find out that Vincent has a huge Tat of a cross on his chest. Huh? And furthermore, in order to defend himself from Ed, he pulls Ed’s head to his chest and we see Ed burn as he makes contact with the cross…from inside Vincent’s chest outwards! I laughed my ass off from this incredibly asinine piece of film-making.
“Fright Night 2: New Blood” is a tired, unoriginal and unnecessary movie. The idea and approach of changing characters, locales and subplots from the established canon was a really bad mistake here and Venne and Rodriguez dropped the ball with the cast, story and execution. Like I said, this movie gives the more dedicated and worthy direct to video B flicks a really bad name. Totally stay away from this one gang, unless you want to be bled dry.