Stars: Jamie Murray, Will Payne, Chris Waller, Sacha Parkinson, Sean Power | Written by Matt Venne | Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez
Originally lensed in 1985, Fright Night, from writer/director Tom Holland (Child’s Play), went on to become a favourite amongst my generation and to this day is still held in very warm regard. The sequel, which followed in 1987, wasn’t as successful as the original, yet remains a much sought after title on DVD and Blu-ray. The original film was remade in 2011 starring Colin Farrell in the vampire role and Fright Night 2: New Blood is a sequel to that remake. With me so far?
Well now it gets a little confusing. This iteration of Fright Night 2 is a remake of the ORIGINAL Fright Night, not the sequel or the remake, which also throws the legend of Countess Elizabeth Bathory into the mix. Still with me?
Gerri Dandridge (Murray) is a sultry and mysterious lecturer by day, but when night falls she transforms into a ruthless vampire with a voracious taste for human blood. When a new set of students travel abroad to study in Romania, they find themselves knotted in her unsettling web of lust and terror, with shocking consequences. Charley (Payne) and Ed (Waller) must prevent the super-powered creature of the night from drinking and bathing in the blood of a “new moon virgin” for everlasting youth, which just so happens to be Charley’s ex, Amy (Parkinson). Charley sets out to stick a stake through Gerri’s evil plans by enlisting help from Peter Vincent (Power), the notorious vampire hunter. But can Charley’s plan save Amy from a grisly fate?
This being a remake of the original 1985 film we get the same heroic characters: Charley, Amy, “Evil” Ed and Peter Vincent and the same villain in Gerri Dandridge – only this time he is a she, played in super-sultry fashion by Warehouse 13‘s Jamie Murray. The film also has the same story beats as the original and the same Rear Window-esque reveal that Dandridge is a vampire. But many things have changed… More of a re-imagining of Tom Holland’s film, Fright Night 2 reminded me very much of the Euro horror of the 70s and 80s, and the likes of Hammer wannabes Tigon and Amicus – there’s a real gothic edge to the tale, thanks to the Romanian setting and the creepy architecture the country provides, including some very eerie castles which fit this story perfectly.
Using the Countess Bathory story as an explanation for the vampiric activities also allows writer Matt Venne, who is making a name for himself as a writer of sequels, penning White Noise 2, Mirrors 2 and now Fright Night 2, to explore the more sapphic side to the legend. Which means which get a number of horny-teen-pleasing lesbian make-out scenes, a good number of boobs and the gorgeous Jaime Murray naked, bathed in blood. It’s like we’re back in the Zalman King inspired direct-to-video days of the early 90s!
Not perfect by any means, Fright Night 2: New Blood is another commendable effort from director Eduardo Rodriguez (El Gringo) that manages to overcome its low budget with some inventive cinematography, snappy editing and a Euro-sleaze vibe which makes it easily stand out from it DTV brethren. Worth a look if you’re a fan of vampire flicks and/or the original film…
Fright Night 2: New Blood is out now on on DVD and Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.