Night Teeth: a Vampire Movie
“Night Teeth” uses the simplest part of the vampire narration-so many rules about leeches are already known to the audience. Boom, there’s your character development, your stakes, your fear of daylight. But instead of trying to add something meaningful to their tradition, vampires are treated as one of the many clichés in this overwhelming horror action comedy that has little charisma of its own.
The most exciting component of the film, even with its abundance of blood splatters, neon lights and silly dialogues like “I bet you’re giving good blood”, is a human character played by Jorge Lendeborg Jr.. Before running into vampires, he is a Skateboarding student who falls asleep in class, has a crush on someone whose friend is making fun of him, and makes music while living with his grandmother. A little generic, Marty McFly-like, but Lendeborg Jr. has the kind of neurotic comic presence and soulful eyes when he’s in peril that show why this trope is a reliable cliché. So, when moonlighting as a Driver for his brother’s driving service, he is an impressive substitute for a bloody Los Angeles underworld where his new clients work.
Blaire (Debby Ryan) and Zoe (Lucy Fry) want to create bloody Chaos with a wide smile. Blaire, gentle to vampires, has been a bloodsucker for only a few decades, but Zoe has been like this for centuries, and this contributes to her evil, sadistic presence. Anyway, first you tell your driver Benny that you need to go to different parties at night and be home before daylight. But he soon realizes that they are classic vampires, sucking blood and finishing people as they go, all on a mob-like train to take over non-Vamp territory (after) and support their “gang” leader Victor (Alfie Allen). Benny is initially trapped in this scenario, but finally decides to join him when his brother Jay (Raúl Castillo), who is at the head of one of the five gangs while being a driver, puts himself in peril.
“Night Teeth” gets a little Flair with its catchy style, like images that slowly flip the camera, and a Palette of neon sapphire, green and pink that clutter the screen, but turn almost any place into a kind of nightclub. Director Adam Randall and his team are having recognizable fun with all the indulgent nature of this awesome and silly concept, and there are some inspired touches, like Chew-em-up sequences with Blaire and Zoe beating their targets in the background of a short Action scene, while our stand-in Benny is in the foreground in fear.
But the world Building here sucks, and that becomes an important part of how this Brent Dillon script silly wants to be more than the craziest night of Benny’s life. There is a whole series of wordy matters about five vaguely defined gangs trying to protect their vaguely defined territories, some of them including vampires and some of them including hunters, while Blaire and Zoe move to these different territories and break the rules that had created peace, and more. Instead of improving the Action, as “Underworld” did with Lycans and vampires during its Franchise, this world-building (largely thanks to characters who only explain it, horrible) slows everything down. In particular, a monologue from the middle of the film, Sitting on Debby Ryan, makes you talk in the main short form of the script. Launching into a five-speed war should add to the stakes, but it adds reasons to see something else.
There’s an overarching desire in “Night Teeth” for it to be an L.A. story, especially as far as how its context contains critical comments about how leeches lead Hollywood. But the Film itself gets awfully shallow, perhaps most obvious when it includes Megan Fox and Sydney Sweeney, its two biggest Stars, for perhaps five minutes of screen time. Instead of increasing the credibility of the film, its flat line about vampire affairs and humorless presence, complemented by eye-catching dresses, shows how “Night Teeth” can lose the Charm that it has – especially when the backstory takes up so much space. This is a particularly striking Moment from a Film that desperately wants to be as nervous as fangs tearing into a throat, but just isn’t.