Oh, vampires. You’re quickly becoming the new zombies, if you have not already done so. There’s books for every age group and demographic, TV shows, films, video-games, comic-books, you name it. Hell, there’s even a goddamn vampire Fleshlight for all of you guys that want to get a fanged up blowjob for whatever reason. WE ARE THE NIGHT is a film that more than likely would not exist if it was not for this current inexplicable cultural obsession with all things vampire. It is flashy, awkwardly emphasizes fashion, manages to be distinctly European yet is as far removed from other European vampire films as seemingly possible. And, in all honesty, its just not that good.
WE ARE THE NIGHT has been labeled as “SEX AND THE CITY with vampires” by more than a few publications/forum dwellers in the past months since its release. While that is not necessarily unfair, it is giving WE ARE THE NIGHT less credit than it deserves. It is certainly more “vampires” than “SEX AND THE CITY” but it does go to show how obsessed with style it all truly is. In a sense, this all feels like one big test reel, as if everyone involved wants to show off any talent that they have. Unfortunately, that typically comes down to actresses wearing tight attire and a director/editor/cinematographer team that seem more inclined to elicit nausea than maintain a steady shot.
The film basically follows three rather wealthy, well-dressed vamp ladies who take on a newly fanged street-girl who has attracted police attention. Which gives reason for the ladies of luxury to attempt to primp their new friend, meanwhile being pursued by the police. It sounds really bad on paper, and it sort of is while watching it. The story is as thin as they come and the characters perhaps more so. However, the script provides for many instances of surprisingly well staged action and in that area it never holds back.
The action scenes (and subsequent carnage) are really the only reason to watch WE ARE THE NIGHT. Well, aside from the scenes of lesbian vampire bonking, but you could just turn to Jean Rollin flicks for that sort of thing. If director Dennis Gansel does anything right, it is provide an ample amount of eye candy. Which, as fate would have it, ends up being exactly what hinders the film in the first place. This is an example of style over substance if there ever was one, yet fortunately, the style here is actually of quality.
The action scenes in WE ARE THE NIGHT are probably not what you’re expecting. These aren’t scenes of vampires fighting or mundane shoot-outs. The sequences we are treated to feature rather well choreographed martial arts and chase scenes. This ends up feeling a lot more like DISTRICT B-13 than NEAR DARK. This is its greatest asset and its greatest curse, while WE ARE THE NIGHT succeeds at being an action film it absolutely fails at being a vampire film. Outside of the obvious references at vampirism (fangs, casting no reflection, being harmed by sunlight), nothing new is shed on the subject. Even the typical tropes are barely utilized, making the film feel like an excuse to have vampires in it in the first place. Which only further adds insult to injury.
The effects in the film are usually decent. The practical effects definitely fare better than the CG work, which is laughable at times. The film opens with a rather wet aftermath of a killing and really sets the stage for some of the darker moments in the film, and when it gets bloody it stays that way. Gansel definitely does not hold back on the red stuff, though it never really escalates into being gratuitous.
WE ARE THE NIGHT is a hard film to recommend yet is also a hard film to dismiss. Gansel has proven himself as a filmmaker worth paying attention to (he directed THE WAVE in 2008, also recently released by IFC here) and he most obviously has style to spare. However, a film like this needs more than car chases and decently bloody moments to get by. Those very moments are where the film excels though, and without them there wouldn’t be anything to recommend. As it is, WE ARE THE NIGHT is worth viewing for the action and worth ignoring for the vampires. However you end up watching it, just make sure to put on your most elegant attire or you may feel under-dressed.