Vampires. They’ve become such a cliche thanks to franchises such as the Twilight series. If the character you see on the small or big screen isn’t a human, an android or a magical/mythical creature – there’s a good chance it’s a vampire. The problem with exhausting such characters is the danger of missing out on a good vampire story when it comes your way – We Are The Night is a possible exception.
Lena (Karoline Herfurth) is a turbulent young women who’s opted a life of petty crime and thievery in the grand city of Berlin. After disturbing a surveillance operation run by Detective Tom (Max Remelt), Lena manages to escape his clutches and wonders into a dance club owned by Louise (Nina Hoss). Unknown to many, Louise is a vampire who is searching for the reincarnation of her true love and after waiting two centuries, she finds it in Lena – a hoodied, emo looking girl.
After biting her neck (and literally swept off her feet) Lena is transformed into a vampire and is introduced to the rest of the vamp camp which includes Nora (Anna Fisher), a sprightly raver and in-house DJ. and Charlotte (Jennifer Ulrich), a 1920’s actress who enjoys playing the femme fatale role a little too much. Lena is given a make over when she takes a ritual bath which dissolves her tattoos and instantly grows her hair making her very beautiful indeed. Immortality now awaits Lena. She begins to enjoy the nocturnal lifestyle which includes driving exotic cars, late night shopping, homoeroticism and living like there’s no tomorrow. But unlike many other vampire stories, We Are The Night takes a view from behind those irresistible fangs, explores the cost of being a vampire, weighs the burden of outliving your loved ones. Returning to Tom, he realises that Lena is involved with the criminal underworld a bit closer then he originally anticipated and eventually discovers her new secret. The question remains whether Lena chooses eternal love or forever damnation.
We Are The Night isn’t unfortunately a cinematic movie. While the opening airplane sequence is impressive, as are the car racing scenes and interior shots of hundreds of people dancing in a secluded club house – it really is a movie that can be best enjoyed at home. The reason for this is purely for its production value which can, at times, seems like it’s trying too hard. The special effect shots look almost dated – which is surprising for a movie that was released back in 2010 and the chemistry between the female vampires – bar Lena and Louise – almost don’t gel, considering in character they’ve lived together for decades.
Where this movie does succeed however is the storyline. It’s very compelling when Charlotte, looking very chic and youthful, visits her daughter – who of course is now very old, feeble and dying on a hospital bed. The dialogue they exchange proves immortality isn’t all what it’s set out to be. Lena herself doesn’t fully come to terms with being a vampire and on a number of occasions is reluctant to kill her victims proving her life of crime was out of necessity, not pleasure. There is of course a tragic moment when raver Nora wakes up one morning to find a boy she really liked dead in her bed. She screams and cries, purely because her thirst for blood is greater than her hope of having a lasting relationship.
If it were to remind you of anything, it would be the classic vampire movie – Interview With A Vampire, where Brad Pitt’s Louis continually fights against his urges of being a blood sucker and forever curses Tom Cruise’s Lestat for turning him this way. And much like Cruise, Nina Hoss carries much of the film with great flair, leadership, passion and tragedy. As the dominant leader of the vamp pack, Louise claims no man, mortal or vampire, has told her what to do in the last two hundred years and it clearly shows with the confidence that radiates from her in every single scene. While many of the actors have little emotion to play with, Hoss expresses a great range and her extensive film experience was really put to use here.
There is much to like about this movie. The performances from all the actors are very well delivered, the cinematography is amazing and it’s one of the few films that’ll make you sympathise with a vampire… should you ever come across one. Much of that is due to director Dennis Gansel who wrote the original script back in 1999 but was stuck in development hell until the Buffy and Twilight series reinvigorated the vampire/werewolf interest in people. Gansel succeeds in telling a well structure story and garnishes it with some action, fragility and love. Not to mention making the grusome violence look very sexy at the same time.
Making of featurette
We Are The Night will be released on DVD on October 15th
Written by Vaskar S. Kayastha