Fright Night 2 (2013) is a fairly unremarkable film save for one thing: it’s the only sequel to a remake I’ve ever seen that is itself a remake of the same film of which the movie to which it is a sequel is a remake. Since that’s probably a bit difficult to follow, let me break it down. Fright Night (2011) is a remake of the 1985 Fright Night. Fright Night 2: New Blood is a sequel to the 2011 Fright Night. Rather than following the characters from Fright Night on another vampire-slaying adventure as you’d expect a sequel to it might, Fright Night 2 is instead but another remake to the 1985 Fright Night. That’s right, Fright Night 2 again follows Charley Brewster, Amy Peterson, “Evil” Ed and Peter Vincent as they face off against vampire Gerri (not Jerry) Dandridge.
Weird, right? Of course it is. Because this means that if Fright Night 2 is not somehow better or at least more interesting that Fright Night (2011), its existence would be wholly superfluous (if the 2011 Fright Night itself isn’t already superfluous, but that’s open to debate). With this in mind, let’s see how it stacks up.
To begin with, my biggest gripe with Fright Night (2011) was in the alteration of Evil and Peter Vincent’s roles in the narrative, with specific regard to the removal of those characters’ final face-off against one another that, to me at least, defined the horror of the 1985 original. Fright Night 2’s Peter Vincent (now a reality TV host who tours haunted locales worldwide) once again fails to take part in the final confrontation with Evil. They do fight one another in an earlier scene at least, and in that sequence we learn that Peter Vincent’s chest is transparent from the inside (I’m not going to bother explaining that statement, but seriously it’s one of the biggest (unintentional?) laughs in the film). What’s more, Peter Vincent is all but entirely absent from the film’s climax. And in my opinion, any Fright Night remake that doesn’t find Charley and Peter Vincent entering the Dandridge home side-by-side is missing the point. In this, Fright Night 2 makes two of the worst mistakes it could have possibly made.
However, Fright Night 2: New Blood writer Matt Venne (White Noise 2) does rework the story in some far more interesting ways than Fright Night ’11 did. To begin with, he moves the action from suburban America to Romania. Sure, that’s precisely where you’d expect to find a vampire. I’ll give you that. But as a setting, Romania is a hell of a lot more aesthetically appealing than a housing development outside Vegas!
Furthermore, this time around Gerri Dandridge, as you may have guessed by the spelling, is a woman. She turns out to be Elizabeth Bathory somewhat predictably, and her origins are related in an out-of-place motion comic sequence. Granted, apart injecting Fright Night with Elizabeth Bathory lore, the gender shift is largely arbitrary where the key Fright Night plot points are concerned. But at least they tried something here!
Unfortunately, while Venne and director Eduardo Rodriguez made some interesting alterations to the story in their setup to their remake of Fright Night, there’s no David Tennant, Colin Farrell or Anton Yelchin among the cast (although Warehouse 13’s Jaime Murray makes for a terrific Elizabeth Bathory). As such, I found Fright Night 2 to be interesting, but every bit as unnecessary as its 2011 predecessor. There’s simply no substitute for the original!
Still, some folks I know downright loved the 2011 remake. And if you’re one of its fans, you may well enjoy Fright Night 2: New Blood enough to warrant a rental. Both its theatrical and unrated versions are available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download from Twentieth Century Fox Home Video.