The trailer for 20th Century Fox's upcoming direct-to-DVD horror movie 'Fright Night 2: New Blood' came online this week. It's a follow-up to the 2011 vampire movie starring Colin Farrell, David Tennant, Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse; itself a remake of the 1985 movie which starred Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, William Ragsdale and Stephen Geoffreys.
Straight away, there is something slightly perplexing about 'Fright Night 2: New Blood' (not to be confused with 'Fright Night Part 2,' the 1988 sequel to the original). First of all, the 2011 'Fright Night' remake was a box office flop, taking just over $40 million worldwide having cost $30 million to make, and almost certainly a great deal more to market. Subsequently, it's a little surprising that it would warrant a sequel - though the fact that it's for the home market, and thus considerably lower budget, may counter that. Secondly, it boasts no returning cast members from the 2011 movie - and appears to follow essentially the same plot.
There are clear differences in the initial set-up. Where the original 'Fright Night' (in both incarnations) saw teenager Charlie Brewster come to the shocking realisation that his new next door neighbour Jerry Dandridge is a vampire, 'Fright Night 2: New Blood' sees Brewster (this time portrayed by British actor Will Payne, star of indie horror 'Elfie Hopkins') go to Romania as an exchange student. There he learns that an alluring female professor named - wait for it - Gerri Dandridge (former 'Hustle' actress Jaime Murray) is also a blood-drinking beast. He appears very taken aback by this, which might seem surprising for someone who - assuming this movie follows on from the 2011 remake - has confronted a vampire already, and survived.
Beyond this, though, the trailer highlights a number of strikingly familiar scenes: Charlie discovering the vampire whilst peeping through a window at a sexual liaison (a notable scene from the 1985 original); Dandridge stopping the kids from getting away by spectacularly flipping their car (reminiscent of the remake's car crash sequence). Plus, there's a new Peter Vincent, and Charlie's best friend 'Evil' Ed is back and - spoiler alert! - very much alive and human; no mean feat considering how he ended up in the last one.
This all begs the question: is 'Fright Night 2: New Blood' actually a sequel, or yet another remake?
Star Jaime Murray tells Bloody Disgusting she is "taking the place of the character you last saw played by Colin Farrell," and confirmed that - while the 1988 'Fright Night Part 2' featured another female vampire who turned out to be Jerry Dandridge's sister - that is not the case here.
This all reflects the strange, almost parallel universe in which direct-to-DVD sequels exist. The likes of 'From Dusk Till Dawn,' 'Death Race,' 'Wrong Turn' and 'The Lost Boys' spawned cut-price follow-ups which bear little relation to their source material, receiving mixed reactions from fans in the process. Many bemoan their lower production values and often shoddier storytelling; others delight in their tendency to showcase far more graphic sex and violence than theatrical releases generally allow, and 'Fright Night 2: New Blood' looks to be no exception there.
In short; direct-to-DVD horror sequels may ostensibly be the laziest, most shameless cash-ins imaginable, but at the same time, for some horror fans they provide a lot more of what the audience really wants.
The release date of 'Fright Night 2' has not yet been announced.
Ben Bussey is an editor of horror website Brutal As Hell , and holds an MA in Cult Film & TV from Brunel University.
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