A small time thief is dragged into a life she never imagined when a little pickpocket work pulls her into the sisterhood of vampires. For over 200 years, female vampires have walked the earth without men. Male vampires proved too loud and dangerous to their secrecy. Only a few select women are chosen to be transformed. The small numbers mean a low profile, allowing each tiny faction of vampires to do whatever they want to excess except travel in daylight.
We Are the Night is an interesting mix of old and new vampire cliches. The easiest way to describe the approach is The Hunger meets the female vampires in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. The core four vampires have big emotional arcs driven by their relationships to the people who changed them. Their characters come out in the quiet moments bookended by loud scenes of partying and bad behavior.
They’re also extremely aggressive predators, forcing the new girl to defend herself against an aggressive pimp to learn the proper way to feed herself. They are fiercely loyal to each other even as their differences grow. Everything human activity they choose to do–eat, drink, kill, steal, party–is done to an extreme and no one can stop them. No mortal person is even given the chance to stand in their way.
The one exception is the new vampire pulled into the fold. She starts to fall for a cop who failed to catch her for stealing an ATM card from a child trafficker. The basic rules of the group allow any of the vampires to have fun with humans but not form a meaningful bond. It’s too dangerous to connect for real.
The action and makeup effects in We Are the Night are the real draw. Everything is just so smooth. The action is fast, clear, and unpredictable. The fights and stunt work are refined versions of standard horror/action motifs. The most interesting recurring image is the wall climbing abilities of the vampires. Pulled straight from the pages of Dracula, these creatures can walk on any surface at any angle without any difficulty. They can fight on them, too, jumping from wall to ceiling, inside to outside and back again as easily as we can enter a door.
The makeup is really effective. This team has to cover everything from high fashion beauty makeup to torn flesh and bullet holes and it all looks good. The fantastic transformation sequence from human to vampire plays out like an infection coursing through the woman’s veins. The climax of the form–the literal washing away of all body blemishes and modifications in a clear water bath–is really something else.
Unfortunately, the only readily available version of this German film for an English-speaking audience is dubbed. It creates a cartoonish effect that really drags down the story and character development. The translation for the dub is more concerned with lip syncing than cohesion. Even then, the dub is often rushed into an unnatural cadence to fit far too many words into a short phrase in the native German. The dub works best in the opening sequence, mainly because the focus is not on the lips of the actors. Once the vampires show up, it’s game over for any illusion of good audio sync.
We Are the Night is a rather entertaining spin on some familiar vampire tropes. It’s dark paranormal romance, unafraid of turning off viewers who aren’t expecting the level of violence and mayhem a true vampire story holds.