Thursday, October 3, 2013
Blu-ray Review: ‘Fright Night 2: New Blood’
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: ‘Fright Night 2: New Blood’ on Blogcritics.
First things first: don’t let the title Fright Night 2 (subtitled New Blood) fool you. This film is not a straight-to-video sequel, it’s another remake. Yes, another Fright Night has somehow found its way to being made. Being from the producers (Michael J. Gaeta and Alison R. Rosenzweig) of the 2011 remake of the original 1985 classic, you would think that maybe they could have cobbled together an actual sequel seeing how they put the number “2” after the title, but all we have from screenwriter Matt Venne, is a change of setting and gender of a major character. Fright Night 2: New Blood is available now on Blu-ray, but fans of either of the other two Fright Nights will feel like they’ve been flipped the middle finger.
In this second remake of Fright Night, Charley Brewster (Will Payne) is studying abroad in Romania with his best friend ‘Evil’ Ed (Chris Waller), and his ex-girlfriend Amy (Sacha Parkinson). Amy is having trust issues with Charley after he kissed another girl, and ‘Evil’ Ed keeps reminding Charley that they live in a free-market and has plans to hook up with Amy while they’re split up. Meanwhile, their professor, Gerri Dandridge (Jaime Murray), seems to be up to something after Charley sees her making out with a girl in her open window, right across from his hotel room. Now, Charley must convince ‘Evil’ Ed and Amy that they have a vampire problem, while enlisting the help of ghost-hunting reality TV host, Peter Vincent (Sean Power), who believes more in showering strippers with dollar bills than real-life monsters.
If all this sounds familiar, then prepare yourself for the audio commentary featured as a Blu-ray exclusive. Director Eduardo Rodriguez, along with producers Gaeta and Rosenzweig, pat themselves on the back constantly for what they keep calling their “sequel.” Rodriguez even goes so far as to call this his version of the “Bond” franchise where it may be the same characters, but they can always be played by different actors. Maybe I’m wrong, but merely changing the setting does not make it a sequel. When all of the plot points are exactly the same, just because Venne squeezed in a new subplot that Gerri may be the original Dracula (aka Countess Elizabeth Bathory), again, does not make your film a sequel.
The trio also praises Venne for delivering a first draft to them in a week. Considering this is based off two pre-existing films, it couldn’t have been too hard. The only other special features are a group of “Fright Night Webisodes” featuring Peter Vincent prowling around Romanian castles running a combined 12 minutes; a 6-minute featurette called “Dracula Revealed” featuring author Rebecca Johns, along with the cast, discussing the real Countess Elizabeth Bathory; pre-menu trailers for “The Blu-ray Experience,” Carrie, Twixt, and Vikings. There’s also a “Sneak Peeks” section with more previews for 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded, Stoker, The East, and American Horror Story: Asylum.
If you’re going to bear witness to Fright Night 2, at least it looks good on the video side of things. Biting onto Blu-ray in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the commentary at least sheds light that it was filmed with RED digital cameras so the presentation is as shiny as you’d expect. There were some cases of slight crush with background detail getting swallowed up, but the blacks are nice and inky nevertheless, and crush never creeps in when you need to see what’s happening. Aliasing was non-existent, but banding cropped up here and there in some sky shots. There were a few instances of sporadic noise, but it was almost a blink and you’d miss it affair. It’s a pretty slick production and along with the excellent video, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is way more loud and aggressive than you’d expect for a movie that moves along so slowly. But the surrounds keep the listening field super-active, with dialogue crisp and clean, and directionality on-point. The LFE levels will also make sure you don’t fall asleep when things start to get creepy.
During the commentary, the producers claim that Fox has big plans for the franchise from here, but I can’t see how anyone will be picking up this supposed “sequel” considering the 2011 remake bombed at the box office. Home video viewers however, are more forgiving, and as I said in my House of Wax 3D review, we genre fans tend to be willing to give anything horror related a try when it only costs a buck at a Redbox. So, if you’re going to bother with Fright Night 2, that’s the only way to go.
Cover art and photos courtesy Twentieth Century Fox