Saturday, October 1, 2011


No monster has been bullied and abused more of late than vampires.  Once the suave aristocrats of the monster world, of late they have been reduced to swoony white knights chasing hillbilly waitress or teenage girl tail.  So anyone should be commended for attempting to make a serious vampire film in the 2000s and some should even be hugged for their achievements (THIRST, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN).  Others, like WE ARE THE NIGHT, should be given an encouraging pat on the shoulder and told, "You'll do better next time."
In many ways, this film holds true to the best semi-recent vampire canon.  Its camp of all-girl vamps and lesbian underpinnings recalls seventies stuff like VAMPYRES and DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS.  Thematically, it's very NEAR DARKish, as lead Teutonic vamp Louise turns erstwhile street urchin Lena, who must then find a way to fit into the existing undead gang while dealing with the romance-advances of a cop named Tom.  Unfortunately, WE ARE THE NIGHT also cops a lot of bad ideas from work like INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE.  That is to say, party vampires.
The ladies apparently have a TECHNO CLUB.  There are lots of dancing scenes.  One would think that immortal monsters would have more to do than follow silly trends, since, as people age, they tend to lose interest in such fluff.  But keeping these scenes in allows for sexy times, as the music itself literally declares.  If I were tasked with writing this film, I would made the techno club something that Louise purchased JUST to interest/draw in Lena, like a stalkery kind of thing.  That would make sense in the same way that guys often pretend to be interested in hot-girl poetry or girls interested in hot-guy football or whatever.  But the techno scenes do allow free reign for the most annoying of the vampires, anime-haired and super-enthusiastic Nora.  
The group of vampires is pretty sitcom-esque, in that each is essentially a type: Louise is the leader, the Leonardo of the group; Nora is Michaelangelo, a party chick who mostly squanders her immortality on the most banal junk; and Charlotte is Raphael, sullen and impassive.  One wonders if Lena would have done machines had things turned out better for all involved.  The movie desperately needed LESS Nora and MORE Charlotte.  The Charlotte scenes were the most interesting and effective and redolent of the vampires I like.  Gloomy and dour, she spends her time buried in books or watching old films of herself from her silent-movie-starlet days.  One Charlotte scene comes closest to genuine emotion and a feeling of loss as well.  The rest of this is just sort of shallow.  If you're going to make a good movie about neo-vampires (instead of the NOSFERATU or SALEM'S LOT animal variety), you HAVE TO make character a priority.
In the film's defense, it's filmed well and acted well.  It just doesn't do enough to differentiate itself or enagage the viewer.  And, again, I know it's very hard to mount a serious movie about vampires after the likes of TWILIGHT and TRUE BLOOD have deflated all the mystique.  But one must make monsters more interesting, not just blood-drinking versions of office girls who can live through shotgun blasts.  I wouldn't go out of my way to see this.

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