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"We Are the Night" Review

It's safe to say that vampires in pop culture these days are ubiquitous to the point of obnoxiousness. Whether in goth fashions at the mall to movies and TV shows populated with them, it's hard to swing a dead rat without hitting some sort of undead thing. While the various stories put their own twists on the genre - e.g. Twilight's abominations don't blow up in the Sun while The Vampire Diaries uses magic rings to grant daywalking privileges - it's hard to find new story blood in the old blood-sucking stones. In search of a different spin, we head to Berlin for We Are the Night, a slick German (I watched an amusingly dubbed version) production with a few twists before collapsing into convention.

Lena (you haven't heard of any of the actresses, so I won't bother) is a scruffy street urchin pulling petty crimes. One night, at a rave, she encounters Louise, who as we've seen in the prologue possesses some superpowers; she and her two younger companions have killed all the passengers and crew of an aircraft and flee the scene by merely hopping out the door in mid-air. She bites Lena, sending her on the path to vampiredom. On Lena's trail is a young cop who had encountered her before and is investigating the vampire gangs' crime scene. He realizes that she's mixed up in the hijinks and her forbidden attraction to him leads to the predictable complications for the vamps (see what I did there?) and him.

Where We Are the Night is best is in its edgy German energy and gritty, stylish visuals. (The way Lena's transformation is shown in one seamless CGI-enhanced shot is nifty. You can glimpse it at :51 of the trailer below.) While not as over-the-top as Run Lola Run, its use of European beauty sensibilities actresses immediately sets gringo viewers off-kilter. The rules of the world are mix of the traditional (e.g. fire BAD!) and novel (i.e. there are only female vamps and they have the ability to walk on walls and ceilings) and while that's cool, the story beats eventually slip into the trope rut leading to unsurprising developments. There is also some confusing inconsistency as to when they can eat people as one victim is offed, but their companion is somehow off-limits.

Perhaps all these vampire tales are doomed to run into the same sorts of plot ruts because there are only so many ways they can play out. But if you're bored of angst-filled glittery mopey vampire bohunks and willing to try some grrrl-powered Teutonic trollops, give We Are the Night a tumble.

Score: 6/10. Catch it on cable.


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