We Are The Night is another in a stream of vampire films (and television series) that have reflected the increase in popularity of the genre over recent years, thanks, in no small part, to Twilight (2008). No sparkling vampire nonsense here, though, We Are The Night is definitely one the better examples of the genre.
Lena (Karoline Herfurth) is meeting a lot of new people, although this is entirely unintentional. Tom (Max Riemelt) seems to be a nice guy who could even be a potential boyfriend were it not for the fact that he is a young detective in the police force and Lena is a criminal and pickpocket. But far more extreme new friendships are to be found in the shapely shapes of three women Lena encounters at a nightclub. This trio have just survived a plane crash: having slaughtered all those on board, they jumped out of the descending airliner before it hit the ground, something they were able to do because they could fly. It’s easy when you are a vampire. Lena finds out this shocking fact soon enough, becoming nosferatu herself when Louise (Nina Hoss), the eldest of the three (although their luscious immortality makes it difficult to tell how old they are) attacks her at the club, believing her to be a long lost love. Lena then joins Louise, ex silent-film star Charlotte (Jennifer Ulrich) and the compulsively enthusiastic Nora (Anna Fischer) as she learns what her new life will actually entail. Suddenly sunlight is savage, blood is essential and group codes force her to alter her own social and moral outlook. This certainly makes any chance of a relationship with Tom difficult to say the least. Can the four girls survive in a modern world and can they exploit it to make every night a provocative joy?
We Are The Night gives us modern vampires in a modern age but with a cultural understanding of the genre’s heritage. The trio’s hedonism and supernatural abilities are integral to this energetic vampire flick, as pleasure-seeking Nora points out with glee – ‘we can eat what we want, drink what we want, snort cocaine and fuck men without getting fat or pregnant’. This, then, is Sex and the City without the irritating cultural rubbish but with all the ‘live life to glorious personal excess’ attitude that has always been a strong element of the vampire genre. Here the vampires are all female, population around one hundred, their male counterparts having long been removed from the undead radar; executed or simply regarded as unnecessary.
The film is very aware of the history of the vampire film and, indeed, cinema itself. Louise is the eldest vampire, glamorous and sexy, similar to Catherine Deneuve’s Miriam in The Hunger (1983) in her desire to introduce a new lover to their world of debauchery. Charlotte had a previous life in the silent German film industry, notably in Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler (Fritz Lang ), which places her contemporary life in question; she seems to yearn for the decadence of bygone years. And perhaps it is because the trio are living a fast-paced existence, filled to the brim with excitement, that she occasionally desires some quiet time. The contrast with all this depravity lies with Tom, an honest but naive police officer who clearly cares for Lena, and his sub-plot provides both a counterpoint for the vampiric excess as well as a catalyst for the frenetic action set pieces that are scattered throughout the film and help maintain its drive.
We Are the Night is an excellent example of a modern vampire film which remains true to the genre whilst creating a fast-paced and exciting experience. The vampire film retains its popularity because audiences desire the characters or want to be them and We Are the Night epitomises that assertion. A guilty pleasure, maybe, but one that is well-made, knowing and exhilarating.