Fright Night 2: New Blood Blu-ray Review
Are there scares in Fright Night 2: New Blood? If you can call them that, yes—but they're almost all manufactured ones, as evidenced by the film's prologue, which finds a lone woman spooked by weird sounds at a gas station she's stopped at in the middle of the night, sounds frightening enough that she decides to get back in her car. Cue the jump cut to a huge beast suddenly at her window, replete with booming "startle" LFE effect on the soundtrack. This is pretty indicative of the level of thought and/or craft that has gone into this almost completely predictable exercise.
Charley Brewster (Will Payne, Mr. Selfridge) is part of a student exchange program studying in Romania. Charley is attempting to convince his girlfriend Amy Peterson (Sacha Parkinson) that he hasn't been cheating on her, while simultaneously withstanding the juvenile antics of his best friend and hotel roommate, Ed Bates (Chris Waller). In yet another sign of lazy writing, Charley gazes out his hotel room window to see what appears to be a naughty lesbian interlude between two women, which suddenly gets a bit on the bloody side. Charley calls to Ed, who's in the bathroom, except guess what happens when Ed comes out? Why, no one's in the window anymore. Gosh, what a surprise.
Charley is soon titillated to find out that the woman he's spied is actually the kids' teacher for their exchange program, a beautiful expert in Romanian history named Gerri Dandridge (Jaime Murray, Defiance). Only, it turns out that—gasp—Gerri is actually a vampire. Of course Charley struggles valiantly to get everyone from the police to Amy and Ed to believe him, but do they? Three guesses and the first two don't count. And just as predictably, it just so happens that one Peter Vincent (Sean Power) is oh so coincidentally in Romania filming his Fright Night television series. Hmmm . . . . I wonder what will happen next.
Fright Night 2: New Blood is by the book filmmaking, which is not to say that it's completely worthless. There is some great Romanian scenery on hand, and the film has a palpable air of erotic decay. The sad part about all of this is that the film references a real life woman, one Elizabeth Bathory, a 16th and 17th century Hungarian who is described as being the most prolific female serial killer in history. Some of Bathory's story has passed into folklore, and the film utilizes one particularly chilling element of those tales—virgins being hung by their ankles and drained of their blood, in which Elizabeth supposedly bathed to keep her youthful good looks—to good effect. But this is a wasted opportunity. The film would have been much more viscerally exciting if it had simply told Bathory's story without stuffing it inside the junk food of a tired reboot of Fright Night.
Fright Night 2: New Blood is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. This appears to be a digitally shot feature and that actually contributes to a rather nice looking offering, despite this film's incredibly dark overall ambience. Fright Night 2: New Blood traffics in the same shrouded world of its 2011 predecessor, but this high definition presentation actually offers generally excellent shadow detail, and fine detail pops extremely well in close-ups. You've heard everything that Fright Night 2: New Blood's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix has to offer—the thudding LFE effects accompanying jump cuts, the whooshing sounds of fast moving vampires, the slow trickle of blood out of a body—but at least this track offers a decent amount of aural fun, something the rest of this film sorely lacks.
- Commentary with Eduardo Rodriguez, Alison Rosenzweig, and Michael Gaeta is decent enough, though Rodriguez does almost all of the talking here, with occasional asides from Gaeta and not much overall input from Rosenzweig. Everything from the filming conditions (cold, evidently) to some of the plot points is rehashed here in a conversational and occasionally fairly informative way.
- Fright Night Webisodes
- Dracula Revealed: has some basic but fairly interesting information on Vlad the Impaler and Elisabeth Bathory.
The filmmakers seem to think that offering a female vampire is some sort of new idea, which begs the question of whether they've heard of any number of films from Dracula's Daughter to The Vampire Lovers. But even putting that issue aside, Fright Night 2: New Blood suffers from a tired, predictable plot and a lack of the goofy fun that made the original Tom Holland opus so entertaining. Genre completist's may want to check this out, for it does offer some great looking video which includes some nice Romanian locations (not to mention copious female nudity in this "unrated" version), but others will probably want to pass this by.
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 88 minutes
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
About Chris Rebholz
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