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Fright Night 2: New Blood (Blu-ray Review)

Fright-Night-2 whysoblu cover2011 saw the release of a remake of Fright Night, which I quite enjoyed.  The original Fright Night is not quite a classic, but it is a fun film (with some terrific makeup effects) that has a premise that was easy enough to remold on top of a modern day film.  What if your next door neighbor turned out to be a vampire?  It is a simple idea for a premise that lent itself to a successful horror-comedy and a remake that managed to be a lot of fun.  Sequel-izing these films has continued to be a problem.  The original film had a sequel, which is not looked to highly upon and now the remake has a sequel, which is fairly inconsequential as well.  “Sequel” is even a questionable term, as Fright Night 2: New Blood is just a recreation of the same plot (including the characters) once again, but in a new location.

Film: 

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Fright Night 2 begins with a cold open to make sure people know how scary vampires can be, let alone how difficult they can be to kill, as a lone woman is stalked by a seemingly unstoppable force.  Moving on, the film sets into motion once a group of high school kids arrive in Romania, on a study abroad program.  This includes Charley (Will Payne), his best friend “Evil” Ed (Chris Waller), and Charley’s ex-girlfriend Amy (Sacha Parkinson).  Charley almost immediately finds something strange about where they are staying, as he spots a mysterious woman doing interesting things through the view of his window, only to discover that this woman is his new sexy professor, Gerri Dandridge (Jaime Murray).  Things get decidedly more complicated when Charley realizes that his professor is actually a vampire.  Luckily, Peter Vincent (Sean Power), the host of a reality show called “Fright Night,” is in town and may be able to help Charley stop the evil Gerri.

If any of this sounds familiar, it is because I have basically described the exact plot of the other Fright Night films, with the changes being based around location and the fact that Gerri the vampire is now a female.  I do not exactly know what the logic behind this was, but given that Fox has taken over the rights to this franchise, I guess going back to the start seemed like the only way to find a creative approach for the filmmakers to work with.  Regardless, while I was initially thrown off by having a repeat of all of the same beats, I tried to go along with what the film was aiming for.

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Unfortunately, even after accepting the premise for what it was, the film did not do much for me.  I certainly understand that some people tend to be more lenient on what direct-to-video sequels have to offer and I am not trying to pick on this film, but I really did not enjoy it.  Jaime Murray certainly tried to have fun with her role, as she plays the seductress who is also quite fond of messing with Charley.  The rest of the cast do their best as well, though I can’t say anyone really elevated the material.

Some notable qualities this film tries for are related to the filmmaking.  The Romanian locations look good.  The film’s setting lends itself to some nice shooting environments and a solid use of atmosphere, even when the film does head indoors and away from the cool sights to behold.  Director Eduardo Rodriguez also makes some interesting filming choices in regards to the POV shots this film has and how to handle the portrayal of vampire abilities on film.  Given that Fright Night 2 only had so much of a budget to work with, I can admire some of the creative filmmaking involved.

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I am not entirely sure how this film could have been better.  As it stands, at 100 minutes, it actually felt too long, but I would base that more on how uninterested in the story I became throughout.  While providing a back story for Gerri, which connects her to the origins of Dracula, was actually quite interesting, the same cannot be said for everything else involving the other characters in this film.  Ultimately this is a film that could work for horror junkies that enjoy the concept that series creator Tom Holland brought to the table, but I am still not sure.  I was flipped around with déjà vu from this film, but the execution was not strong enough for me to enjoy it overall.

Video: 

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Misgivings about the film aside, the Blu-ray presentation for Fright Night 2: New Blood is pretty terrific.  The film arrives on Blu with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer that does great justice to this digitally shot film.  The majority of the film is shrouded in darkness, which makes sense, but the film is quite striking throughout in terms of textures and detail.  Nothing was ever unclear and only made better when a sharp contrast, such as blood, made its way on screen.  I should also mention the animated backstory for Gerri, which takes place in the center of the film and is a wonderfully vivid experience to enjoy, as far as the video presentation goes.  Great transfer all around.

Audio: 

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While not a transcendent audio experience, the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track for Fright Night 2 is better than average for sure, as you get a great sense of everything that is going on, from an aural perspective.  The film puts a lot of focus on jump scares, which is aided by the rumbling bass and drastic turns in the soundtrack, but is always balanced by the dialogue, shrieks, and other sounds that came from my speaker system, while watching the film.  The quieter moments are just as solid as well, making this an all-around fine audio experience to aid this Blu-ray.

Extras: 

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The Blu-ray gets points for including an audio commentary, something I always tend to bring up.  That said, not a lot of other extra materials to sink ones teeth into.  I will mention that this disc contains both an R-rated and Unrated cut of the film, though only the unrated cut is available on the Blu-ray disc in this 2-disc set.

Features Include:

Audio Commentary by Director Eduardo Rodriguez and Producers Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta – This is pretty much a “just the facts ma’am” commentary, as we get all the expected details about this production, with little in the way of really fun asides.

Fright Night Webisodes – Some additional pieces that correspond with the film’s Fright Night reality show.

Dracula Revealed – Some additional information regarding Gerri’s connection to the world’s most famous vampire.

DVD, Digital HD, and UltraViolet copies of the film.

Summary: 

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I was strangely intrigued by what Fright Night 2: New Blood was going to bring to the table, so I am a bit more disappointed than I thought I could have been after actually seeing the film.  Part of it comes from the film not actually being a sequel, but the dislike largely stems from the film being a bore overall.  Some creative touches here and there did not win me over.  That said, the audio and video quality of the disc is solid for sure, despite lacking in the extras department.  If you need to see more of a vampire named Gerri, then check out what Fright Night 2: New Blood has to offer.

Order Your Copy here and be sure to check out the cool Fright Night 2 eCards below:

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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