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John’s Foreign Horror Corner: We Are the Night (2010)

January 25, 2012

MY CALL:  A foreign contemporary horror with stellar production value made for a younger audience.  If you are a twenty-one year old college socialite, this is the life you’d fantasize about leading if you became a vampire.  Oh, and there are no vampire men…whatever. Girl power, I guess.  For what it is I’ll give this a “B”.  IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCH:  Though clearly less fangy, I’d suggest An American Werewolf in Paris (1997).  TRAILER: Check out Mark’s Trailer Talk for the trailer.

[Anime-chic, right?]

Young vampires with alternative attitudes make this very contemporary fang flick stand out from an overdone genre—not that Let the Right One In (2008) or the remake Let Me In (2010) weren’t unique, repeated delights.  There is an outlandishly perky a la Anime fashionista, an experienced techno-chic lesbian, a deep, depressed intellectual, and a teen, tomboy, grungy human newbie.

[Before photo]

The story gets interesting when the grungy newbie is transformed early in the movie and learns from her experienced peers’ advice.  During the slow, vein-blaringly painful transformation we learn that all the standard vampire rules seem to apply.  1) Hair-styling and make-up are tough without being able to use a mirror; 2) beastly, insatiable hunger goes unremedied by food, so start an LA fad diet on blood; 3) there is a desperate need for SPF 5000 in daylight; 4) you gain super crazy bitch strength and you regenerate; 5) you can defy gravity better than Michael Jackson and fight like those chicks in The Craft (1996); 6) vampires exercise a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy; and 7) all vampires lead a swanky lifestyle.  Religion goes unaddressed throughout the movie and I don’t know about garlic.  They never ate any Italians.

[That’s one Hell of an “after photo”, just look at how much less of a beaten up crack-whore she is now]

With her newfound vampiric elegance, our newbie is now a tomboy-turned-princess.  But because this isn’t some gun and sword-filled installment of Blade (1998-2004) or Underworld (2003-2012), we need a plot device.  And in every non-action fang flick the problems all seem to stem from turning someone into a vampire who doesn’t take it well.  It happened in Interview with a Vampire (1994), Near Dark (1987), Fright Night (1985-2011), Vamp (1986)pretty much all of them.  And then, life goes to Hell for ALL vampires as if this was the first time that someone ever took poorly to being turned into a vampire and didn’t devoutly follow the tenets of vampirism.  Go figure.  Not to rant and rave, but it’s worth pointing out.  However, I actually enjoyed the movie a lot.

[Um, why are you staring? Is there, like, something on my face? There’s food on my face, isn’t there?]

Anyway, our fully-turned newbie starts out feeling enamored by the power and lifestyle.  As she learns more she becomes hesitant and frightened by their method of sustenance and the consciouslessness that accompanies it.  Ultimately she becomes resistant to the vampire way along with the romantic fixation her maker holds for her and how that conflicts with her feelings for a human she met before she was turned.  Throw in a lot of clubbing and that’s the plot in a nutshell.

During the turning/transformation, feeding scenes and the resistance phase at the end we get a lot of violence (including one particular scene for which I’ll issue a “violence against women” warning).  The action is well done, along with generally all aspects of production.  However, the major flaw in this movie—at least the Netflix version I saw—was the poor English dubbing job.  Before I got used to it, I would have almost preferred to “read” this movie.  But once the story got started I thankfully forgot all about it.

Minus the inevitable outcome, this film depicts a fantasy of the young and beautiful, immortalized in a taboo shell, living with wealthy trappings like fancy cars and doing whatever they please.  There’s also some not-so-in-your-face feminism that I could appreciate.  Evidently, guys who can’t handle Vegas are like all guys to vampirism in general.  So no male vampire egos run rampant in this movie.

Older moviegoers will likely appreciate this movie less.  I certainly enjoyed it.  But I know that over ten years ago (we’ll just say from age 15-22) I would have loved it.

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