While watching We Are The Night I found myself thinking one of the stupidest thoughts ever to pop into my head: that these are real vampires. I stopped myself, realizing that in the grand scheme of things the children of the night found in this great new German horror film are no more “real” than the sparkling brood-meisters in Twilight or the confusingly-edited action heroes from Nightwatch. But what matters is that I genuinely accept the world of the supernatural that director Dennis Gansel has presented in We Are The Night. The vampires on display here are tragic creatures, certainly, but also fun-loving homicidal maniacs. The movie has action, gore and genuine drama to spare. It’s the best vampire movie since Let The Right One In, and if given the choice to watch either film over and over again I’d pick We Are The Night every time, because it’s fun as hell.
Lena (Karoline Herfurth) is a teenaged pickpocket eking out a tragic existence in modern day Germany. When she chances upon a trio of vampires in a nightclub, the leader of the pack, Louise (Nina Hoss), takes an immediate liking to her. The life of an immortal is a lonely one, and she has spent the last few hundred years collecting companions like the depressed former silent film star Charlotte (Jennifer Ulrich) and the thrill-seeking debutante Nora (Anna Fischer). Louise turns Lena into a vampire, but just because she’s a couple hundred years old doesn’t mean that she knows a thing about building relationships. Her nights are filled with debauchery, theft and murder, filling immediate needs for entertainment and pleasure while doing nothing to actually fill the void in her life. When she makes a move on Lena it’s a clumsy gesture, and she hates herself for rushing it, clawing as she does into the walls of their posh hotel. Ironic that one of the most genuine displays of human interaction, or at least the failure thereof, should come from something no longer human.
Lena embraces the excess of her new lifestyle – who wouldn’t? – and even seems to accept the need to murder people to stay alive. What she does not accept is the fact that her new companions are, for lack of a better word, shallow. They place no value on their lives apart from the need to wallow in excess and kill indiscriminately. Had a police investigation not impeded her progress it would have been easy to imagine Lena having a positive influence on these bloodsuckers, but soon the SWAT teams arrive and increasingly gripping action sequences make up the majority of the third act. But these aren’t meaningless shootouts and vamp fights… the characters had this coming to them. They treated the world like an all-you-can-eat buffet, never once thinking that the restaurant might close its doors to them. Their uppance comes, twice filled, and their reactions to the inevitable drive the plot forward from there on out. This is excellent drama.
Although on the surface We Are The Night seems to appeal to ‘Girl Power’ enthusiasts, the movie is critical of any behavior that stems from self-indulgence. It has an interesting point to make, damn it, which is such a rarity these days that even if it sucked I’d be forced to give it a semi-positive review. But perhaps ironically, for a vampire film, We Are The Night does not suck. It’s smart, stylish and exciting entertainment. I await the bastardized Hollywood remake announcement any day now.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5/10