Posted on October 8, 2012 by Michael Holland
Available at Amazon.com
“The more evil the man, the sweeter the blood.”
We Are the Night is a German horror film about a young woman named Lena (Karoline Herfurth) living a lonely life of petty-crime on the streets of Berlin. Lena draws the attention of police detective Tom (Max Riemelt) while picking the pocket of a pimp that local law enforcement was keeping an eye on. Not surprisingly the pair finds themselves attracted to each other. When Lena sneaks into a rave she is spotted by Louise (Nina Hoss), the leader of a pack of female vampires, who immediately falls in love with Lena because she reminds the 250-year old vampire of her own creator (who died 150 years before). With no ceremony at all Louise bestows “the bite” on the unwilling Lena and transforms her into a vampire. This sets up a twisted love triangle that drives the action in the film when Lena isn’t struggling with what she has been turned into.
The vampires in We Are the Night are delightfully brutal and bloody while also being seductive, hedonistic and liberating at the same time. There are no male vampires in Dennis Gansel and Jan Berger’s world as they have been wiped out for being “too loud, too greedy and too stupid.” The irony being the vampires who replaced them are quite loud, greedy and unfortunately very stupid. Gansel and Berger’s attempt to make a statement about female empowerment is undermined by the flawed and shallow vampires featured in the film which is a real disappointment.
Louise is consumed by her quest to find her creator who she believes she will find by looking into the eyes of her female victims. Nora is a dim-witted party girl who has only been a vampire for a short while herself. Charlotte is the one exception in that I found her quite interesting, intelligent and deep but she is crippled by what she has lost, all of which was taken from her by Louise. Lena struggles against her vampiric nature, spurning what Louise wants for her. Unfortunately what she wants for herself is a man to take care of her. There is a message in there somewhere but it is muddled mess.
The film’s saving graces are Lena’s struggle to balance herself, its stylish approach which highlights the dark and hedonist nightlife of Berlin and its superb cinematography (and soundtrack).
While Louise and her pack may be confused about who they are Lena is unwilling to conform to their way of doing this. At first this is a struggle with being a vampire. She does not want to drink blood or hurt anyone. Later she comes to accept what she is but she continues to reject the pack’s desire for wanton violence and bloodshed. Louise, Nora and Charlotte have a cruel streak in them which manifests in some of the most delightfully gruesome ways.
Berlin’s nightlife is a fascinating subculture in which much of this film takes place. A good deal of the film is even filmed on location in the city with the nightlife buzzing all around them. This sets a unique dark, sexy tone which is not native to most horror films in America but will be well known to European fans of the genre.
Where the film really works is in the capable hands of Dennis Gansel who not only helped to write the script, he directed the film as well. Gansel is a master of finding the perfect shot even in the midst of the chaos of a Berlin rave. The film uses a fair amount of CGI but you wouldn’t know it because it is blended so well into the film. Couple that with a brilliant soundtrack that ebbs and flows with the mood of the film and you are left with a wonderful cinematic experience.
We Are the Night has its strengths and weaknesses and it probably suffers from trying to do a little bit too much all in one film. Despite that it is still a film I recommend to fans of vampires and maybe to fans of horror as well. There is a little bit of everything in this film so even if you don’t love the film you will more than likely find something you like.
Rated 3 out of 5stars.
Reviewed by Michael Holland.