Ok, wait, so I’m confused. For all intents and purposes, Fright Night 2: New Blood is billing itself as a sequel to 2011’s Fright Night remake starring Anton Yelchin and Colin Farrell, yet it has absolutely nothing to do with the previous project. None of the cast returned and the suburban story isn’t referenced in the least – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Fright Night 2: New Blood is a spiritual remake all on its own, starting anew with familiar characters thanks to screenwriter Matt Venne. All the characters are named exactly the same. “Evil” Ed yet again starts in human form and Amy is back as Charley’s love interest. The only true change is that Gerri is now a female vampire played by the sultry Jamie Murray.
Unfortunately, Edurdo Rodriguez’s “sequel” is the worst kind of sequel – because it isn’t a sequel at all. Fright Night 2: New Blood is yet another remake in every sense of the word, masked as a sequel but lacking any defining qualities. An entirely new cast of actors are brought in to start Charley Brewster’s vampire tale from square one yet again, puttering along with a dreadfully uninspired attempt to try something different. Please – changing the gender of the evil vampire from male to female doesn’t warrant an entirely new film, especially after Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night surprised audiences by being a rather entertaining horror remake. Man, I get the Hollywood greed machine, but did I seriously just watch a remake of a remake attempting to sell itself as a pure sequel?
In Rodriguez’s Fright Night adaptation, Charley Brewster (Will Payne) and his friend “Evil” Ed (Chris Waller) are high school students traveling abroad in Romania when they discover their professor Gerri Dandridge (Jamie Murray) is actually a murderous vampire. When their warnings fall on deaf ears, the boys attempt to enlist TV monster hunter Peter Vincent (Sean Power) to help them vanquish their blood-sucking teacher before Charley’s crush Amy (Sacha Parkinson) becomes her next victim. C’mon, same story, different location – you know the drill by now.
What frustrates me most is that Fright Night 2: New Blood never even tries to be a sequel, as “Evil” Ed is seen in human form from the get go. Right away I thought, “Wait, didn’t I see Christopher Mintz-Plasse already play this character and die in the previous remake? Why is he back?” It wasn’t too long before I’d realize Venne’s treatment had absolutely nada to do with the previous remake, watching Will Payne go through the motions as Charley just as Anton Yelchin did.
Abandoning the sequel mentality and looking at Fright Night 2: New Blood in comparison to the remake released two years ago, there’s honestly not much of a reason to pop in Rodriguez’s film over Gillespie’s, as New Blood is a straight-to-DVD downgrade in every department. Characters are unlikable and wooden, the Romanian setting doesn’t provide any fresh ideas, Venne’s story is structured around the same core events, and while villain Gerri Dandridge brings the franchise into more Gothic, classical territory, rehashing the same story makes the project feel tired, lazy, and frankly – unnecessary.
If there’s a shred of positivity I can bring to this review, it’s that Rodriguez shows a keen eye for graphic violence. All the biting and sucking produced a constant stream of red liquid, and “Evil” Ed’s makeup still sported the original character’s iconic jagged teeth. Unfortunately, the “Unrated” classification of Fright Night 2: New Blood is only utilized to show as much sexy vampire nudity as possible, as there was more than just some blood sucking if you catch my drift, but again, like the film as a whole, much of these raunchier, more “mature” scenes simply weren’t necessities. People sometimes get excited when they hear a film is “Unrated” – don’t be fooled.
Fright Night 2: New Blood is a misguided bit of vampire lore overshadowed by a remake released only two years ago. I refuse to even acknowledge the “2” found in the title, as Rodriguez’s film should have been marketed as Fright Night: New Blood from the start. Be honest and let viewers know what they’re in for – yet another remake in a long line of vampire cash-in attempts. Sorry, but this ranks up there with Embrace Of The Vampire as some of the worst vampire material of the year, happily recycling a familiar story instead of attempting to continue mythology already set in place by 2011’s remake.
Fright Night 2: New Blood is a remake unfairly masking itself as some sort of sequel, slowly revealing itself to simply be an inferior, unnecessary production when compared to 2011's surprisingly satisfying effort.