Review: “We Are The Night” (2011)

Not since The Hunger has a big-budget lesbian pic made such waves… And even if you haven’t heard about this one yet, I can tell ya, it’s big in Europe (as they say). This year’s big foreign dark suspense actioner in limited release with a tough, androgynous female lead (remember last year’s – the little… dragon thingy?) is We Are the Night, in which all male vampires have ceased to exist and only the gorgeous ladies are left to vamp it up. It’s a fantasy horror romance, with laughs and tears.

Being pushed as a lesbian film, it’s a little mismarketed; there is some girl-on-girl, but a surprisingly small amount. It’s mostly lesbian in its message – as I said, all men are dead and girlies rule. No Stuart Townsend, no Jonathan Lipnicki… But We are the Dyke, this is not.

We follow Lena (Karoline Herfurth, understated and beautiful, touches of Ellen Page, Kate Mara, and Franke Potente all in one) through the dark underbellies of the Berlin club scene, until, early on, – surprise! – she’s bitten by a beauty and has to join the ranks of the undead. But all is not sad: though at first cold, our girl blossoms into a very alive, sexually awakened youngin with a sudden sense of purpose… in a matter of thirty seconds. In a bathtub. It’s lovely watching her come out of her closet shell and into luscious power.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the vamps she’s got to worry about. She’s connected to some gritty crime, so throughout the film, of course, she’s followed by an obligatory detective. Luckily, he’s a trigger-happy rugged blond with a soft heart (Max Riemelt), so it’s something nice to stare at. Director Dennis Gansel spends a little too much time developing a pseudo-love plot and less on the vampy fun, but it’s understandable. We’d grow tired of the goods if there were too much.

But when the vamping goes down, it’s really, really wonderful. Nina Hoss kicks ass (seductive in that Lisa Marie in Mars Attacks! kind of way) as Louise, a powerhouse leader who may very well be over 6-foot and had me quivering in my panties. Her two minions add both sugar and spice: there’s Charlotte, the classy one with a longing backstory, and there’s Nora, the powerpuff pixie. Both are ravishing. Anna Fischer as Nora dominates most of the movie’s comic relief, and also partakes in one of the movie’s most visceral visual sequences.

The action is sleek, like the music video for Britney’s “Toxic” raping any glossy 2011 car commercial. Never once do the special effects let down, and that’s something that should definitely not go unnoticed. The blood does pour like lava in a number of creative lil’ messes. One involving some typically inept security guards is my favey, I’ll admit. Also, the electronic-rock soundtrack that’d make Kraftwerk blush is really fucking fun. I wish I could find it to share – but I’m sure it will surface somewhere. It would be wonderful on drugs, y’all!

Sadly, the third act is a shockingly weak tit. The movie takes a dip into Anne Rice drama territory, crying with sentiment in an off-beat way that doesn’t quite fit the sensitive first act and the masterfully rocking middle. The movie relies so heavily on its effects, gore scenes, and solidifying the identities of our women, that the third act’s drama feels like a tagged-on kick in the pants. More often than not, I wish the action-horrors with endless adrenaline would follow through with fun, as they should, rather than opt for the tear-jerker route for sudden contrived ‘pathos’. But really, I’m just a mean faggot.

Also, this just in — apparently lead actress Herfurth (Lena) had a supporting role in The Reader!?!? Gotta rewatch that one. Maybe she was Kate’s merkin. Remember? That scene? The naked one. It was there. Also, that song in the trailer? Sexy, pounding, dark, intense – it’s “Nightlife” by IAMX. Rapturous.


We Are the Night is Not Rated for violence, gore, bathtub transformations, schizophrenic jumpcuts, ball-busting, and for coy theft of a Chemical Brothers album title.

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About Ross

Ross studied film at Emerson while working for indie producers, and he critiques shit from a queer POV here and @GingerBredhaus. He also produced 2015 gay horror slasher comedy YOU'RE KILLING ME and creates immersive theater in NYC.