Written by: Jan Berger and Dennis Gansel
Directed by: Dennis Gansel
Starring: Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss, and Jennifer Ulrich
Reviewed by: Brett G.
ďI've found you at last...Ē
If I had a dollar for every vampire flick Iíve reviewed here in the past three years, Iíd at least have a crisp bill with a Hamilton on it, and Iíd probably be well on my way to meeting Mr. Jackson. Obviously, vampires are some prolific undead fuckers, and they're also swooping in from all corners of the globe here lately. We Are the Night is an offering out of Germany, and it crashes what is generally a boyís club by infusing the genre with a little bit of girl power.
Louise (Nina Hoss) is the leader of a trio of globe-hopping vampires. Sheís dedicated her life to reclaiming her dead lover, who she is convinced has been resurrected at some point through the ages. She eventually runs into Lena (Karoline Herfurth), a street-rat pick-pocket who frequents a local night club (all vampires are ravers now in the wake of Blade). Believing Lena to be her long-lost lover, Louise turns her into a vampire and introduces her to the pleasures (and displeasures) of immortality.
You might be wondering if this is the closest weíll ever come to a Lost Girls movie, and I guess youíd be right. Itís not quite as pop-minded as Schumacherís film and is a bit more ponderous on some issues, but itís otherwise a bunch of female vampires living it up. Like one of the characters says, they eat, drink, bang, and do as much coke as they want, but they never suffer any of the consequences. The movie gets a little listless when it wants to illustrate this point, as some early attempts at character development result in sequences that play as Sex and the City and Fast and the Furious with vampires. These scenes do a good job of establishing the sort of existence that awaits Lena. They show the alluring side of vampire life well enough, but the filmís real narrative thrust gets started when Lena gets settled in and begins to wonder if itís worth it.
At this point, the film itself descends into soap-opera fare. It turns out the Lena just isnít all that into girls (or maybe just Louise), so a love triangle emerges. Adept vampire viewers are used to this sort of thing--itís just that it usually involves two guys (one alive, one undead) vying over the soul of a mortal girl. The inversion here works well enough to allow the flick to explore some thinly-veiled feminist avenues (according to Louise, no man has controlled her for over 200 years), but itís sort of inconsequential in the end. Still, this non-erotic take gives us something a little bit different to look at, which is always welcome in a crowded genre.
But really, We Are the Night has trouble figuring out which mode to settle into. It seems like it wants to be a meditative, introspective look at the vampire condition, but it also wants to be a high-octane action flick. It half-succeeds at being both, while never being completely great at either one. Moments of greatness peek through--thereís a cool chase scene early on with some nice, fluid camera work, and one of the filmís quiet scenes really works. It involves one of the vampires reconnecting with a family member that they havenít seen in decades, which really highlights the tragic implications of not aging with those around you. We Are the Night boasts an altogether nice production too; all of the actresses give strong performances, particularly Hoss in the role of vampire/cougar Louise. Far from the usually cool, tempting seductress, Louise is actually quite insecure, which makes her a bit more tragic than most vampires. The movie also provides plenty of eye candy, and Iím not just talking about the lading ladies--itís pretty gorgeous at times, with a lot of dynamic lighting and camera work.
Sometimes I hate it when all you can really say about a movie is that it feels like itís been done before; youíll feel that way about We Are the Night, which is cobbled together from a lot of different things (it even takes time to borrow a Saw-like aesthetic for one sequence). That shouldnít keep you from checking it out if youíre in the mood for some entertaining vamp action. The ability to do that might be at your fingertips right now, as IFC is running it on their On Demand channel; beware, though, as theyíre running a flick with some apparently horrendous English dubbing. Your best bet is to wait until they rectify it, which theyíll hopefully do when they bring it to DVD. When that day comes, definitely give it a look. Rent it!
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