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We Are the Night
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Young. Sexy. Eternal.
Lena (Karoline Herfurth, Perfume: Story of a Murderer) is a troubled young woman from the wrong part of town. Antisocial and self destructive, Lena is caught in a dead end life until she meets Louise. Beautiful and glamorous, Louise is everything Lena is not and Lena cannot help but be flattered by her attention and the promise of a new life and family. A life of power and excitement. A life that will never, ever end. Fresh from the success of his internationally acclaimed The Wave, director Dennis Gansel delivers a darkly sexy spin on the vampire mythos, one where glamour and power come with a price not noticed until it is far too late.
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DVD: If you purchase the Region 2 disc (currently the least expensive format), you'll get an abundance of extras (bonus/special features) on the disc. Audio is offered in dubbed English, but I suggest not watching the movie unless you can accept the English subtitles option.
Blu-ray release (1080p, MPEG-4 AVC) has *no English subtitles*, so understand German if you buy it.
The quartet of German actresses provide at least 4 reasons to watch We Are the Night:
1. Karoline Herfurth was the perfect pick for the protagonist Lena. Herfurth is versatile, knows her craft, and has had a strong screen presence in Germany since the turn of the century. Her metamorphosis during the course of this vampire story is exceptional, a highlight of the film. She's worked with the film's director Dennis Gansel previously, as a teen in Mädchen Mädchen! (Girl on Top). Herfurth rules!
2. Nina Hoss, the eldest of the four (both the actress and her character Louise, who is hundreds of years old) was a fine pick as the matriarch. Apparently she was invited for the role about a decade earlier, but told writer/director Dennis Gansel, "the script doesn't seem finished yet." Other than newcomer Lena, Louise is probably the most pragmatic of the bunch, although the centuries have made her ruthless.
3. The lovely Jennifer Ulrich plays Charlotte, a brooding vampire always with a book in one hand and a cigarette holder in the other. The intellectual, existential vampire of the quartet, she has become too depressing for the tastes of leader Louise. Ulrich has rapport with Herfurth from a film early in their careers (Big Girls Don't Cry), and like Herfurth had previously worked with director Dennis Gansel. In one scene, Ulrich's character Charlotte was CGI'd into Fritz Lang's 1922 Dr. Mabuse, which is more difficult a feat than it sounds.
4. Actress/singer Anna Fischer is cute as heck, but she chews the scenery like mad. Still, it would not have been the same without Nora, who is sugar and spice and everything you want to avoid if you value your life.
Sure, there's plenty of typical vampire fare in this tale, but considering how many godawful vampire films are out there, We Are The Night is in a superior league with very few others, based on its sharp personality. One gripe I have with the genre is the usual lack of context provided re: the extent of a vampire presence in the fictional world presented. We Are The Night defies this norm explicitly when Louise informs Lena there are "40 women in Europe, 100 worldwide." What about male vampires? Watch to find out!
One reason this is 5 stars instead of 4 is on account of the extras. The deleted scenes show how the movie would have offered a slightly different tone to the final cut had they been included. Additionally, two alternative endings are on the disc, so you can "pick your own adventure" to please yourself. The cast & crew interviews are worth watching. Dennis Gansel made some noteworthy comments about the shallow lifestyle Louise and Nora had fallen into, and how it relates to our real world.