Released on DVD and video early this month, Fright Night 2 sets up a similar story: Charley is the main character, Evil Ed is his best friend, Charlie is interested in a girl and soon finds himself meeting Gerri Dandrige, a vampire who he somehow decides he must murder to protect his love interest. Starring Will Payne, Jaime Murray, Sean Power, Sacha Parkinson and Chris Waller, the movie takes place in Romania and immediately uses the location known for its’ vampire origins. Charley (Will Payne), Ed (Chris Waller) and Amy (the girl he may have cheated on and who is angry with him) along with their classmates, are on a study aboard trip attending a local university. Charley spots the female Gerri (Jaime Murray) from his hotel room window biting a girl, just as in the original, then later meets her when she turns out to be a visiting professor lecturing to the students (in an evening class of course).
While I’m not totally satisfied with the some aspects of the film, I recommend it, even over the original. Check it out on iTunes or Amazon. Spoiler alert: If you want to watch the film, you may want to avoid the rest of this article.
Once Charley and Ed confirm their suspicions that Gerri is in fact Elisabeth Bathory, they of course seek out the television host Peter Vincent (played by Sean Power), who happens to be filming in town, hoping he’ll help hunt Gerri, who at this point has only been feeding on other people due to a curse placed on her. The curse causes Gerri to age rapidly and she must bathe in the blood of her victims often to restore her youth. The pair discover that Gerri wants to walk in daylight, still as a vampire, but to do so she must perform a ritual where she bathes in the blood of a new-moon virgin, turn that virgin, then have the virgin kill the one she loves.
The trio now with Peter in their employ take a trip on Budapest’s subway and find themselves sharing an empty carriage with Gerri. Peter however sensing danger slipped off the train just before the doors closed, leaving the trio to fend off the vampire. After attacking Gerri, Charley and Amy escape with Ed sacrificing himself to save them. He’s then turned by Gerri before she gives chase, catching up with the pair first when they come up in a church which causes Gerri pain, and again when they escape to a taxi outside. It quickly transpires that Amy is an new-moon virgin, given the she was born at midnight under a new moon, when Gerri gets a taste of her blood and finally crashes the taxi and flies away with Amy.
Ed arrives at Peter’s hangout, a local strip club, to attack Peter but he is wounded by the tattoo of a cross on Peter’s chest. He escapes, though harmed. Charley then comes to Peter, who until now didn’t think vampires were real and is making plans to get out of town. Peter only offers advice on what do to. So without any assistance, Charley leaves Peter and sets off to save Amy at Gerri’s castle, the former Bathory residence which has a hidden blood pool. Charley first meets up with Ed and they fight, which ends with Ed’s possible death by holy water. After the battle Gerri arrives and drags Charley to the large blood pool where Amy is awaiting him. She then bites Charley, turning him into a vampire, however Charley acts before she can kill him in the ritual and stakes himself. This causes Amy to start dying, but she regenerates just as we watch Charley heal as he did not stake himself in the heart.
At this point Peter surprisingly arrives and attacks Gerri. Thinking she is dead and that they should be human again, Charley shouts in angry that they are still vampires. At this point the film should have concluded (in my opinion), possibly with vampire Charley and Amy attacking Peter. However, Gerri has not died after all and she resumes her assault on Peter. Charley, in his vampire form, emits a bat like screech that shatters all the windows and allows in sunlight that finally kills Gerri and sadly the pair are human again.
Unlike the 2011 remake, in this one Amy and Charley both become vampires, and Charley for a brief moment is quite hot with fangs. Evil Ed experiences for the third time the same fate, and just as before he’s not a very attractive vampire. Gerri switches between being an old withered vampire, sexy temptress vampire and hideous bat-like creature. While I would have preferred Gerri to have remained male for obvious reasons, the key plot points remain with the same lame conclusion, but the ending ritual was refreshing and allowed Charley to become a vampire which didn’t happen in the previous versions. Yet despite not taking the chance to change the ending of this version, Fright Night 2 is a better telling of the story with a slightly more believable plot, although it’s always awkward for vampire films to find a reason to transport these Americans to Romania. The 2011 Fright Night remake relied on 3D and big stars, and yet this remake on a tighter budget was more enjoyable to watch.