“Be careful, Charley. Romania can be a very dangerous place.” That’s the bit of advice Charley (Will Payne) gets from his prof, Gerri Dandridge (Jaime Murray) right after she threatened to kill him. All must go hush-hush for the time being since another student, and Charley’s love interest, Amy (Sacha Parkinson) somehow wandered onto the scene. It’s a game of cat and mouse for a good while as Charley and his prof must make time to go over whether or not he should die. Maybe he could stop by after lunch?
This is a stylish sort of scary. It’s actually not that easy to get it right and “Fright Night 2: New Blood” gets it right. It comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on October 1. It’s light horror with high production value. Like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” it has its own sense of humor but it knows to respect the scary stuff.
“Fright Night 2: New Blood” starts out with horror in the opening scene. It’s a nice jump ahead to what you can expect. Director Eduardo Rodriguez has brought to life a screenplay by Matt Venne with a lot of heart and agility. That opening scene is crucial since the very next scene has some comedy. We see a young woman (Joelle Coutinho) driving up to a secluded gas station in the middle of the night. She is texting and not paying attention and then suddenly she senses a presence. She is wearing a necklace with a cross. She starts to panic and jumps back into her car. It’s not long before she encounters what she’s been afraid of.
We then jump to an American high school group embarking upon a summer study at a nearby college in Romania. Charley is stuck with his oafish friend Ed (Chris Waller) as his roommate. All Charley wants to do is get back together with his girlfriend, Amy. We return to horror when Charlie gets his first glimpse at the mysterious woman in the window of the building across from him.
It can’t be said enough that this is a high production movie. The musical score by Luis Ascanio does a classic job of immersing you into the action. Yaron Levy’s cinematography is truly gorgeous. If you’re looking to give someone an excellent horror treat, this would be it. There’s a solid pacing to all the elements as they’re brought in. We get hints to the significance of a reality TV show that stalks monsters, “Fright Night,” hosted by Peter Vincent (Sean Power) that is currently in town. For fans of the original 1985 “Fright Night,” and the 2011 remake, it’s understood that Peter Vincent is going to have a big role to play somewhere down the line. Sean Power’s Vincent does not disappoint. There’s even a digital comic book segue that helps to transition a key scene. But, most importantly, it’s the chemistry between Charley and his prof that is so compelling.
Jaime Murray, as Professor Dandridge, reminds me a lot of Kelly LaBrock as Lisa in “Weird Science.” (You can currently see Murray as Stahma Tarr in the SyFy TV series, Defiance.) The sexy professor’s idea of a lecture involves a laser light show and mass hypnosis, all the better to freak out Charley. Dandridge is not impressed in the least with Charley. Like LaBrock’s Lisa character, the prof is a powerful woman who can do as she pleases. She senses that Charley will ultimately serve some purpose so she doesn’t crush him right from the start. Like the original “Fright Night,” “Weird Science” was also released in 1985. I think Jaime Murray would make an excellent Lisa if a remake is being considered.