Director – Dennis Gansel
Cast – Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss, Jennifer Ulrich, Anna Fischer, Max Riemelt, Arved Birnbaum, Steffi Kühnert
Release Year – 2011
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I heard many good things about We Are The Night after it’s debut in mid-2011, but vampire films have never really interested me much so I took my time getting to this one. While not as good as I expected it to be I did find We Are The Night to be a pseudo fresh breath for the vampire sub-genre, at least for this day and crappy Twatlight age. Well-shot and with positive acting performances this effort provides enough engaging elements to warrant a borderline-positive review despite its storyline holding it back from being a great film.
After barely escaping arrest for theft, petty thief Lena continues down the downward spiral she calls “life” and attends a secretive rave party run by Louise, a centuries old vampire who believes Lena is the women she has been waiting for all these years. After “turning” the naïve Lena the new vampire is made the newest member of Louise’s group, a group whose constant feeding and disregard for human life leaves Lena at odds over who she is and wants to be.
Sounds a lot like The Lost Boys right? This story borrows from the Joel Schumacher classic so much that this is pretty much a ripoff of The Lost Boys except with an all-female vampire cast. Lena is the usual protagonist in these types of films – a loner with no direction in life who suddenly finds herself with the ability to live forever, so long as she is willing to accept being a vampire and all of the tidbits (drinking blood, killing) that come with it. This new life does provide her with something she has never had before…a life. Along with the eccentric Louise the group includes Charlotte, a silent film star from the 1920s, and Nora, a spastic loud-mouth sure to annoy the film’s viewers, all of whom provide for a crazy lifestyle Lena has never been a part of. Constant partying, killing, and stealing high class vehicles are what these vampires do on a near-daily basis, and despite Lena’s background as a thief she finds herself way over her head, especially the killing of human beings. The killings put Lena at odds with her new group, and along with her liking of a local police officer, Tom, she is forced to choose between the life she wants to live and the life she seemingly has to live. The conflict was well-written despite its unoriginality, but I did like that each of the vampires came from a different background and added some spice to the lineup. I did find many faults in this story from Jan Berger and Dennis Gansel, and they mostly consisted of poor storytelling that hinted at some great elements but never delivered. It does not take long before Lena is “turned”, and after the initial conflict of her transformation we are given many bland sequences that did not interest me very much. This came also due to the unenjoyable characters we are given, both the vampires and Tom, and despite this being a ripoff of The Lost Boys we were never given the sense of adventure it provided despite this film having our vampires on the run when the police close in on their killing spree. I blame the writing for this, and while the writers managed to give us a vampire film coming off as an original effort for this current day they also held the film back on multiple levels.
Writer Dennis Gansel(The Wave) also serves as the film’s director, and for the most part he got things right. His cinematography is great, providing beautiful visuals and great sets that bring forth the dark gothic feel that Germany provides during its night hours. We get pretty good performances from our lead actors, including Anna Fischer as the annoying Nora who I feel was written to be as annoying as she was. Karoline Herfurth was the most enjoyable as Lena, which came naturally given she had to play different personalities as her character evolved from loner loser to confident vampire. The horror was mediocre at best, giving us a few fair kill sequences but ultimately nothing was worthwhile, making this more of a drama following Lena than a horror film, and even then it was not a great drama.
Overall, We Are the Night is a film I expected better from but sadly fell short due to poor storytelling. The direction is good and there is a decent level of “fun” in the film, but ultimately this is just a decent watch that did not live up to the hype.