We Are The Night (Wir Sind Die Nacht) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner26/10/2012

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 97 mins

Stylishly directed and sharply written, this is a hugely enjoyable vampire thriller with great characters, some nice ideas, impressive visual effects and terrific performances from the entire cast.

What's it all about?
Directed by Dennis Gansel, We Are The Night is set in present day Berlin and stars Karoline Herfurth as Lena, a punky pickpocket (think Rooney Mara's Lisbeth Salander) who makes a strong first impression on handsome cop Tom (Max Riemelt) after a fast-paced foot chase, leaving him unsure whether he wants to arrest her or date her. Shortly afterwards, Lena goes to a hedonistic nightclub and is captivated by the glamorous Louise (Nina Hoss), who attempts to seduce her before biting her neck.

When Lena wakes up to discover that she has an aversion to sunlight and no reflection, she tracks down Louise and discovers that her would-be seducer is a 250 year old vampire who leads a decadent, thrill-seeking coven of female vampires comprising melancholy ex-silent era starlet Charlotte (Jennifer Ulrich) and perky hedonist Nora (Anna Fischer). Given a sexy makeover by a magical bath, Lena is duly inducted into their group but angers Louise by continuing to resist her advances, as well as not quite relishing the whole idea of killing people. Meanwhile, Tom continues to pursue Lena, unaware of her recent vampire conversion.

The Good
Nina Hoss is terrific as Louise, both chilling and heartbreaking in equal measure, particularly when her true motives and the background of her relationship with Charlotte are revealed (her performance also deliberately recalls Delphine Seyrig's Countess Bathory in Daughters of Darkness). Similarly, Herfurth makes an appealing lead (her transformation is astonishing) and Fischer brings a lively and amusing enthusiasm to Nora (‘We can eat, drink, sniff coke and fuck as much as we like, but we never get fat, hooked or pregnant – enjoy it’), while Ulrich is 1920s sultriness personified as Charlotte - one brilliantly composited scene shows her watching herself in Fritz Lang's Doctor Mabuse: The Gambler.

Gansel's direction is extremely stylish throughout, aided by some colourful production design work and a pulsing German techno soundtrack. Similarly, the action sequences and gory moments are extremely well handled and there are some deliciously shocking moments, such as Charlotte finding a rather nasty use for a page of the book she's reading.

The Great
On top of that, the film is filled with intriguing ideas, such as the fact that all the male vampires have been killed off because they were ‘too loud, too greedy and too stupid’ (an idea that probably could have been explored further) and there are some memorably striking scenes, such as the four women playing an endurance game while watching the sun come up as they begin to burst into flames.

Worth seeing?
We Are The Night is a thoroughly enjoyable vampire thriller that's well worth seeking out. It's getting a brief theatrical showing during Halloween to accompany its DVD release, so catch it on the big screen if you can. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 13/12/2017 08:51

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