Looking at the cover art for We Are the Night you get the impression that this could be some kind of Sex and The City meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer hybrid – more than likely the intent of the distributer. It’s fair to say that there’s certainly elements of the former in this German fantasy.
The plot focuses on Lena (Karoline Herfurth) , a small time pickpocket who is taken in by a group of attractive, go-getting vampires. Head of the pack is Louise (Nina Hoss) who has been searching for her lost love for hundreds of years and believes Lena to be her reincarnation (so far, so Dracula). We also have Charlotte (Jennifer Ulrich), the sullen/moody one and Nora (Anna Fischer), the cheerful party girl who’s actually pretty annoying. Taken from a life on the streets Lena is shown the decadent lifestyle of the vampire group who love nothing more than partying in expensive night clubs, shopping and finding men to have their way with. Actually it really is like Sex and the City. Of course there is the unfortunate business of having to murder people for their blood and not staying out in the sun. There is also another problem in the form of Detective Tom (Max Reimelt) who took an interest in Lena pre-vampire transformation and is keen to know what has become of her now. As he investigates her further he starts to find the connection between Lena & Co and the slew of bloodless corpses turning up about the place.
We Are the Night is a strange proposition overall. Vampirism is a subject usually reserved for horror films. This film is anything but a horror and I don’t believe it’s trying to be. Rather it is a story of a group of damaged people who all mask they’re deep emotions with partying and bloodletting. It’s almost an allegory for dealing with depression. Nora’s happy go-lucky facade crumbles when she talks about a guy she really likes but can’t be with because she “would hurt him… really”. Charlotte misses the daughter she left behind and clearly misses the simple mortal pleasures of staying out in the sun.
Maybe if it was told with a clearer drama narrative We Are the Night could have been a much more interesting psychological study. However director Dennis Gansel (director of the critically acclaimed The Wave) fills the film with superficial visuals and montages that come straight from the 80′s and slight attempts at action that render the film into straight to DVD hell. You almost get the feeling that the initial intent was something much more introverted but was then pounced upon by money men who demanded “we need a gun fight”, “they need to out shopping in this store”, “how many times can we get them in their underwear?”. As a result the film pulls in so many directions it lacks focus and therefore lacked my interest.
The central quartet all manage to raise above their two-dimensional characters – sassy, moody, annoying. Herfurth in particular puts in a committed performance and convinces in both her street urchin role and glamorous Gucci drenched socialite. Ultimately though the eagerness to throw so many ingredients into the plot make for a bland mix. So what we have here is a bit like Sex and the City but as also a bit like Blade, Dracula, Near Dark, Nikita, Set It Off and The Lost Boys.