Written by: Tera Kirk
Directed by: Eduardo Rodriguez
Cast: Will Payne, Jaime Murray, Sean Power, Sascha Parkinson, Chris Waller
Fright Night 2: New Blood is the worst kind of movie to review. Neither good nor bad (and, okay, my expectations were low to begin with), it doesn’t engender any feelings stronger than “meh.”
Its premise is intriguing enough. Fright Night 2 isn’t so much a sequel as an alternate universe where Charley Brewster and company are all alive exchange students in Romania and Jerry Dandridge is a woman (Jamie Murray, Warehouse 13). One of my favorite things about Fright Night is how mythology and popular culture bleed into real life: the hero is a horror movie nerd who knows he’s in a horror movie, asks a horror actor to help kill his neighbor, whom he suspects is a vampire. (And did I mention this came out several years before Scream?) Retelling the story should be a really interesting examination of that theme.
It should be, but it’s not.
Basically, there isn’t much new about Fright Night 2: New Blood. Yet again Charley suspects that an adult in his life is a vampire; he sneaks around gathering evidence; he tries to enlist the help of his favorite TV personality, who is more paranormal investigator than movie actor this time around.
You’d think that the reinterpretation of Jerry as a lady would infuse some life (uh…) into this remake/AU/whatever. But even though Jamie Murray is fun to watch, this change seemed most like an excuse for Charley to spy on naked women.
Even the stuff that could have been interesting wasn’t explored enough for me. Gerri Dandridge is a professor of art history. While the film invokes the intertwining of history and mythology (particularly, the myths surrounding a notorious historical figure), this idea wasn’t enough to carry the movie. For a horror-comedy, it wasn’t very funny and frankly, I just…didn’t care about anybody this time around. There’s something charmingly naive about the original’s Charley Brewster that’s missing here; this Peter Vincent is a completely jaded jerk, as opposed to the mostly jaded jerk he used to be.
The movie’s worst sin was the couple of scenes where important, scary things were happening and strobe lights would flash. Well actually, the screen would get pitch black and then strobe lights would flash…only for the screen to get pitch black again. Were the filmmakers trying to disorient the audience into being scared? Covering up how low-budget the film is by not letting us see what was happening?
In general, this reboot is much darker than I’d like (sometimes literally.) All in all, Fright Night 2: New Blood seems like an attempt to make the same movie over again, without the humor–or the soul–that made the original so great.