Vampires remain ever popular because of their specific allure as romantic, mysterious outlaws forced to perpetually prowl society’s fringes. Yet it’s because of this allure, not in spite of it, that so many vampire movies end up being so crummy. When vamps aren’t serving as stylish villains waiting to be exterminated, their sexy, dangerous lifestyle has to be refuted, lest we be forced to side with creatures who live off a steady diet of human blood. Establishing this attractiveness, then subsequently challenging it, proves too big a task for We Are the Night, a trifle of a film that feels enervated by the whole process.
It’s this dangerous glamour that initially reels in scrappy loner Lena (Karoline Herfurth), a pickpocket who soon finds herself inducted into a family of gorgeous, ageless bloodsuckers. This being modern-day Berlin, the women spend their nights running a secret subterranean nightclub, living a gaudy lifestyle on funds accumulated by leader Louise, who’s been roaming the Earth for a few hundred years. Removed from the harsher realities of murderous survival, they drive luxury cars and spend days ensconced in a high-end hotel, subsisting off pre-rationed blood poured into chilled cocktail glasses.
Unconcerned with much beyond aesthetics, We Are the Night‘s primary interest seems to be wish fulfillment, but it’s hard to tell at times exactly whose fantasies these are supposed to be. At first, with its roster of self-sufficient women who have deemed men useless, the film seems to be pushing a hardline lesbian angle, like a rejoinder to the gay themes behind something like The Lost Boys. Later, as Lena develops a male love interest, the focus shifts toward a kind of Sex and the City fantasia, with couture, jewelry, and tacky girl-on-girl kissing scenes all functioning as eye-catching diversions from the film’s growing internal hollowness.
This being a vampire flick, these fabulous women eventually need to atone for the huge volume of human blood they consume. But befitting a movie that dives so joyfully into depicting the excesses of this lifestyle, it handles the inevitable comedown like an unwanted chore. Consequently, We Are the Night‘s climactic scenes feel trite and unsatisfying, not nearly as substantial as its dreamy first half, which, if essentially stupid, at least seemed fully conceived.