Fright Night 2: New Blood starts right off as a cautionary tale: Don’t text in your car. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving or not. Texting and cars are a bad mix. I mean, it’s kind of alright if you got a plastic Jesus hanging from the rear-view, but really, avoid it. No matter what language you’re using.
The producers of Fright Night 2: New Blood, say that there is no connection between the first Fright Night and now, except for the character names. I prefer to view it as if they’ve just forgotten the events of the first, either because they’re too traumatized by what went down or too stupid to retain anything. That’s why nice guy Charley, redeeming himself from cheating on Amy by watching lesbian MILF grope fests, doesn’t remember that you should stop voyeuristically grinning when you see blood dripping from the girl of your wet dreams.
Fright Night 2: New Blood follows three American college students sleeping through class in Romania. There’s a girl, Amy Peterson (Sacha Parkinson); a nice, sensitive asshole boyfriend Charley Brewster (Will Payne), well, ex-boyfriend trying to work his way back in, and his asshole friend, “Evil” Ed Bates (Chris Waller), with plastic fangs all hopped up about doing the vampire tour. Romanian vampire locales are a new breed of tourist trap and I’m sure it will one day be a burgeoning business, just like vampire reality TV shows. Monster hunter extraordinaire, Peter Vincent (Sean Power) happens to host a paranormal investigation reality TV show and he also happens to be in Romania. His latest episode being a probe of the Poenari Castle, the home of Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula. He’s looking for the father of vampires’ unmarked grave.
The hero appears as art history teacher Gerri Danridge, played by Jaime Murray, who makes her entrance in a digital take on Julie Carmen’s entrancing and sanguine introduction. In the 1988 version of Fright Night Part 2, the sexy vampire mesmerizes Charley with a crucifix, Professor Dandridge induces epileptic seizure with strobe-projected jump cuts of religious iconography through the ages. Gerri is an enthusiastic advocate of the madness and blood of art history.
It seems that Bram Stoker based his Dracula on a female vampire. The Romanian tour guide says that there are no accounts of Vlad the Impaler drinking blood. The Romanian tour guide should take a course in history. Vlad dipped his bread in the blood of fallen soldiers. There are other stories that detail the bloodletting that went along with military conquest at the time, but that one is fully substantiated. Here Elizabeth Bathory, who was renowned the olde world over for her rejuvenating blood baths, is reduced to Countess Dracula.
Charley is the worst kind of voyeur. He hides his eyes from the best parts. He’s all broken up that he blew his relationship with Amy and he takes it out on the new teacher. If Charley wants to prove that he didn’t cheat on Amy so bad, why doesn’t he just trot out the virgin blood excuse? Charley’s a pussy, leaving his friend on the train to be sucked off by his teacher. And why would Crazy Eddie, I mean Evil Ed, want to drag his friend out of a vampire castle just because the tour is over? That’s a contradiction of character. There’s nothing wrong with Eddie that a little Ritalin couldn’t fix, though being a made a vampire does wonders for his concentration. Professor Dandridge knows how to reach her students. Peter Vincent knows that Amy is on her way to vampdom when Charley doesn’t have enough time to tell him and right away he’s giving advice on how to kill the bloodsucking bitch.
Elizabeth Bathory has been around hundreds of years and Romania is her country. Who are these self-righteous American assholes to come and tell her how to live in her own house? The police look the other way but the students just have to make a federal case out of it. I mean, they blame Bathory for everything: The Hindenburg, the Black Dahlia murders, Dracula Meets Billy the Kid. That’s no reason to stab her in the eye. She just wants to “bathe in the blood of a virgin, herself born at the stroke of midnight by the light of the blood moon.”
Cinematographer Yaron Levy uses the time lapse filming techniques that we’ve all grown to love on Breaking Bad to mark the not just the passing of time, but the timelessness of art. He captures the ancient architecture before the camera leaps forward to lessons in art history. He throws a twist into the power of shadow in original Nosferatu. He may circle the action when it’s not necessary, but he stuck a camera behind Peter Vincent’s vampire-repellant tattoo for some true cheese.
Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez, Fright Night 2: New Blood doesn’t have the charm of the original. The first sequel, Fright Night Part 2, was a self-conscious adaptation of a comic book that didn’t lose the sense of its comic origin. Sure, they upturn a taxi, which is a Fright Night franchise trademark, and the crucifix in the eye made me groan loud enough to scare my kids. There’s a swimming pool full of blood and Eddie’s drool and green teeth supply the quease. The comic book sequence explaining the history of Elizabeth Bathory was the only real nod to it. The screenplay by Matt Venne doesn’t have any real bite. The ending kind of confused me. If Amy’s the girl with the honey blood, who gives a shit if Charley offs himself? I don’t accept that Dandridge, whose hallways are lined with clocks, would lose track of time.
The tragedy of Fright Night 2: New Blood is that the University of Romania lost a talented and dynamic art history professor.
Den of Geek Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars