Fright Night 2


A Horror Movie Review by Alexis Feynman

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This movie was recommended to me by an anonymous Internet commenter, who stated that the film was "way better than the 2011 remake." That in itself seemed like a good argument to watch it, because I enjoyed the 2011 remake considerably. The commenter also provided such enlightening tips as "The vampire is totally hot", which might have tipped me off about what I was getting myself into.

The premise of this movie is that somehow, someone decided that the best move for their filmmaking career was to remake a movie that had already been remade once within the last two years, and was never in dire need of a remake to begin with. As such, the film bears a striking plot resemblance to both of its predecessors, but that is where any fundamental similarity ends. Possibly the most obvious change between Fright Night and this film is that Jerry Dandridge, suave vampire, has been changed to Gerri Dandridge, smooth and sensual college professor who bathes in way too much blood. Also, the story has been moved to Romania for no believable reason, and instead of Jerry preying on Amy to get back of Charlie, Gerri has Important Prophetic Reasons to hunt her down and consume her life juices. More on that, and more fake lore and total bullshit than any vampire movie should be allowed to have, later.

The film opens up with a fairly standard stalking and murder scene that hasn't really changed since about the 80's, just to set up our monster. It then moves on to our heroes: Charlie, "Evil" Ed, and Amy. Those familiar with the first film will remember that Charlie and Amy had some conflict going on. Specifically, Amy wanted to get laid and Charlie's vampire paranoia and general skittishness was keeping them from getting it on. Well, apparently that's just too nontraditional for our writers, because we now see them as a former couple, where Charlie is desperately trying to buy back Amy's love and Amy would just like him to leave her alone already.

Fortunately, Charlie's got other things to keep his mind occupied. First, there's his sexy new art history professor, who is not only able but willing to flaunt it, and makes sure that Charlie gets an eyeful of her macking on a nubile college girl. Then there's the fact that said girl turns up missing the next day. And of course there's Evil Ed, who, like any sensible teenager in Romania, hooks the both of them up on tours of all of the spooky vampire castles. Because the country has, I don't know, at least a dozen of them, all within easy driving distance of their current city. I'm not completely up to date on my European geography, but that seems just a little too convenient.

Here's where things really start to go south.

Before we get into the movie's version of events, let me tell you a couple of things about Elizabeth Bathory. Firstly: unlike the real Dracula, she was, in fact, a countess. Secondly: she was definitely a serial killer, and there are legends of her bathing in her victims' blood to restore her youth, so as far as historical figures that you could adapt into a vampire go, she's not a bad choice.

That's pretty much where it ends, however. She's a serial killer with a few vampirish legends around her. She is not, as the movie asserts, "also known as Countess Dracula." Nor is Bram Stoker's Dracula "in fact, a woman." At no point in any historical or legendary account is her backstory presented as it is in this film - an innocent young bride, attacked and transformed by a vampire, forced to exist in the night until she consumes the blood of a virgin born at midnight on the blood moon. These details are completely fabricated, and moreover, they're some of the most hackneyed bullshit writing I've ever seen in a serious film that did not feature dragons. BORN AT MIDNIGHT ON THE BLOOD MOON. Seriously. Oh, and can you guess who that virgin is?

Because this film is so ludicrously godawful, I'm going to take a break to talk about something I actually really enjoyed about it, and that is the character of Evil Ed. He is PERFECT. The dialogue was well done, the actor they cast played the role fantastically and looked the part to boot. Sure, he's obnoxious as hell, but that's the way he was supposed to be. Evil Ed gives me life.

Anyway.

Charlie starts to suspect that Gerri Dandridge is in fact Elizabeth Bathory (A.K.A. NOT COUNTESS DRACULA, YOU HEATHENS). He is able to confirm this suspicion when, hiding out in her castle, he watches a creepy old lady kill a teenage girl and drain the blood into her bathtub. (Well, first she lets her bleed out on the floor for a bit. She's not very good at this.) Once that's done, she dips her wrinkly prune ass into the tub, and magically emerges as the beautiful young woman who teaches his art history class. This raises a few important questions, like: Why does she bathe in the blood instead of drinking it like a normal vampire? How many teenagers did she have to kill to fill an entire tub?

Don't hold your breath for answers. They're not coming.

Charlie tells Evil. Evil suggests that they contact TV monster hunting legend Peter Vincent, who in his third incarnation is the star of a "Ghost Hunters"-esque reality show who has an ego bigger than a freight train and blows all his money on strippers. (It's cool, man. He knows them all by name.) He just happens to be in Romania, for reasons, but he doesn't believe in monsters, he doesn't want to help our heroes hunt their "fake" vampire, and when the chips finally do go down, he bails and leaves the heroes to fend for themselves.

Alas, poor Ed, we knew ye a little too well.

Apart from Ed getting turned by Gerri, which we knew had to happen because it's a Fright Night staple, the main thing this scene accomplishes is Gerri getting a taste of Amy's blood, and learning that she is, in fact, the virgin born at the stroke of midnight on the blood moon. Of course she is, because when have outrageous coincidences ever been an indication of poor writing?

So, of course Gerri kidnaps Amy and hauls her off to her castle. Of course Charlie goes to rescue her, and asks Peter Vincent for help. Of course Peter Vincent refuses to come along. On the upside, he gives Charlie some weapons. Like, two whole weapons. He also tells Charlie that if he kills Gerri before daybreak, any vampire she's turned will change back to normal. How does Peter know this, having spent his whole life believing monsters didn't exist? How do we know that his lore, as opposed to someone elses, is reliable? BECAUSE WE'RE ON A DEADLINE HERE, PEOPLE. LET'S GET THIS FILM OVER WITH.

Charlie storms Gerri's castle armed with a single plastic bottle of holy water, and a wrist-mounted stake holder that COULD NEVER POSSIBLY WORK BECAUSE IT IS MOUNTED ON THE BACK OF YOUR WRIST AND IT'S GOING TO POP OUT BEFORE IT GETS INTO ANYONE'S CHEST YOU IDIOT. He confronts Evil Ed, who is now a vampire and of course tries to eat him, and gives him a glorious death befitting our film's only good character. Farewell, Ed. Again.

Meanwhile, let's see what bullshit Gerri's been up to.

Well, she's got Amy in a secret room, clad in a lovely white dress for... ceremonial purposes, we presume. And there's a swimming pool full of blood in there. A SWIMMING POOL FULL. OK, dude. Seriously. It was implausible enough that she managed to fill a single bathtub with human blood - even if she HAD done it properly, and not let perfectly good blood leak all over the floor, it would have taken multiple people to fill that thing. To fill a space the size of a fucking pool, and keep it from coagulating, would basically require her to have several dozen bodies trussed up from the ceiling bleeding in real time. Which there aren't. Fuck you, physics.

So, FOR SOME REASON, Amy has to be a vampire before Gerri drinks her blood. And her blood has to be "pure", which for some bullshit reason means that she has to destroy any ties she has to living. And she's magically still in love with Charlie, this somehow means that she must kill him personally.

Of course, since Charlie decided to storm the castle with nothing but one bottle of holy water (which he's already used) and some shit weapons (one of which he lost fighting Ed), he gets his ass handed to him by Gerri, who then tosses him in the blood pool with Amy so he can get dead. Amy bites him repeatedly, feeding off his delicious teenage blood and angst, and then decides to drown him.

Let's take a moment to appreciate Amy's plan to kill Charlie. She bites him repeatedly, then tries to drown him in a pool full of blood. Amy. Are you TRYING to get vampires? BECAUSE THAT'S HOW YOU GET VAMPIRES.

No, really, it is. Charlie pops out a few seconds later as a vampire. Well, this is a potential advantage, right? He could use his cool new vampire strength to take out Gerri, curing both Amy and himself, and live happily ever after. Wait, no. Apparently that would make too much SENSE, because Charlie's next course of action is to apologize profusely and stake himself. This does not bode well for Amy, whose survival is inexplicably linked to his not being dead (you'd think that would put a damper on her killing him, I dunno) and she starts choking, turning pale, etc.

But then! Charlie opens his eyes and pulls out the stake. HE MISSED! Amy stops dying (apparently it was a psychosomatic reaction, since Charlie was never in any real danger) and Gerri decides to get back to the serious business of getting Charlie dead. Which, by my calculations, should be impossible or a horrible idea by this point, but who am I to stand in the way of progress?

Anyway, things go pretty quick from here. Peter barges in, stakes Gerri, there's a tense moment of "I don't feel any different" (keep stealing scenes from The Lost Boys, movie. It's cool), then Gerri gets killed off for real and Charlie and Amy stop being vampires. I guess that "death before dawn" thing has a whole chain reaction attached. Everyone's happy, except for Evil Ed, who is dead. Oh, and Charlie and Amy get back together because YOU PUT THAT RED STRING BACK ON YOUR FINGER, YOUNG LADY. The end.

So, that was Fright Night 2. I'm not going to compare it strongly to any of the other Fright Nights, because each one is sort of its own thing and has its own charm. My final conclusion will be based solely on how I felt about this movie as a standalone vampire film.

It was GODAWFUL.

The lore is complete bullshit, and not just the usual bullshit, but bullshit that you can easily disprove with 5 minutes on Wikipedia. Nothing Gerri does makes a lick of fucking sense, the writers pull detail after detail out of their asses at the last second, the characters are obnoxious, the "spooky gothic" aesthetic adds nothing to the experience, and every single "plot twist" was not only predictable but played as directly as possible. The only reason to watch this movie is titties. There are a LOT of titties. And by that, I mean that every single woman in this movie is a sex object and/or a prize for a man to win, and it's done in the most blandly heterosexual style possible. There are scenes that could have done with some smooth jazz, is what I'm saying.

Don't watch this movie. Unless you really like shitty movies. Or pain. Or both. I'm done. This was crap.