NOTE: This German film suffers a bad English dub for its only presentation on Amazon Instant Video. Why not offer both versions, subtitled and dubbed? A four star film that works better in its original language, so I had to get the DVD.
I must admit that upon seeing the DVD cover art for the German horror flick "We Are The Night," my expectations weren't exceedingly high. Don't get me wrong--I mean who doesn't enjoy a cadre of hot female vampires? But I thought I was in store for cheesy late night titillation as opposed to a compelling tale of blood sucking mayhem. Any reservations I might have had, however, were quickly dispelled by a stylish and blood-spattered beginning. Dennis Gansel, fresh off the intriguing "The Wave," serves up an intoxicating brew of female empowerment, crime drama, and monster mischief. And while not perfect, fans of the genre should have much to appreciate in this well made production. Glossy with good effects, this presentation offers up a unique addition to vampiric lore serving up equal doses of female bonding, romance, macabre humor, and gritty violence. Far from just being a guilty pleasure, "We Are the Night" is a solid horror movie just waiting to be discovered by a broader audience.
The central character is a street tough, Lena, who gets by on her wits and a bit of petty theft. Something in the girl appeals to a beautiful and enigmatic stranger who indoctrinates Lena into a bizarre otherworldly life. It is an opportunity for Lena to live in a glamorous new style, but at what cost? Further complicating matters is a handsome young cop who senses that something unexplainable is happening with the girl. A strange, but satisfying, love triangle of sorts is formed. Lena and her gal pals explore the mysteries and the murders that accompany their lives as creatures of the night--but it is hard for her to reconcile her new wants with her very human feelings. After a brutal slaying, the police close in and everyone is at risk. As the film progresses, the stakes raise incredibly and the last half of the picture is infused with much action, copious amounts of blood, and a riveting final showdown.
Gansel's piece is visually appealing and very stylish. All of the action sequences are well orchestrated and the four central vampires are an alluring lot. Sometimes the police procedural seems a bit shortchanged, but it's a minor point. For example, a huge raid is set-up based on a Russian hood's assertion that would have inspired laughs and disbelief as opposed to mass police action. All in all, though, the movie works for sheer entertainment value. The film is available on the DVD either dubbed (painfully) or with its original subtitles. Gansel proved with "The Wave" (a critical sensation) that he was one to watch, here he proves to have an astute eye for commercial entertainment as well. An easy recommendation to genre fans, "We Are the Night" doesn't reinvent the vampire story--but it puts a decidedly new spin on it. Just enjoy! KGHarris, 9/11.