REVIEW: ‘Night Teeth’ Lacks the Bite of Other, Better Vampire Films

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Night Teeth

Night Teeth is a Netflix Original film directed by Adam Randall and written by Brent Dillon. College student Benny (Jorge Ledenborg Jr.), filling in for his brother Jay (Raúl Castillo) as a night driver, takes an assignment to chaperone two girls around town. However, he learns that Blaire (Debby Ryan) and Zoe (Lucy Fry) are vampires on a special mission. Zoe’s boyfriend Victor (Alfie Allen) intends to uproot the truce that has lasted between vampires and humans by killing the other vampire lords and consolidating his power in Los Angeles. Swept up in a web of danger and deceit, Benny must fight to stay a step ahead of the vampire war and save Jay, who has been targeted for death by Victor.

On paper, this could have been a really solid movie. However, Dillon’s script is woefully undercooked in terms of dialogue and concept. The mythology behind the vampires isn’t fully fleshed out. In the opening monologue, it’s revealed that vampires must never let humans know about their existence. Yet, they also can’t feed on anyone unwilling, which makes the first rule irrelevant. It’s also hinted that what we know about vampires is completely off base, but we don’t get to see that in action. Other vampires films, including Vampires Vs The Bronx and Black At Night, took the time to set up the rules of their world while also fleshing out their characters. Unfortunately, Night Teeth is more interested in clunky one-liners such as, “You give good blood.” I’m not joking, that’s an actual line in this movie, and it sounds just as bad as you’d expect.

The script also follows dual plotlines and is never sure which one should be in the forefront. It turns out that Jay was in charge of keeping the peace between vampires and humankind and is determined to kill Victor for kidnapping his girlfriend. That could have definitely been a whole movie, or rather the focus should have been squarely on Benny being drawn into the world of vampire nightlife. By the end, it’s clear that Dillon should have taken another pass at the script to hammer out a more satisfying story.

It’s a shame because Randall’s direction is a visual treat, capturing the allure of the LA nightlife. Whole buildings are lit in a collection of neon hues, and a fight scene in a club is shrouded in a dark blue aura that brings the opening scene of Blade to mind. Randall also captures several shots of the sun rising and falling, a beautiful sight to behold—or a deadly one for vampires. He even pulls some great performances out of his cast, particularly Lendenborg, Ryan, and Allen.

Lendenborg, having made supporting appearances in Bumblebee and Love, Simon, takes center stage in this film and is a delight to behold. He plays Benny as the typical college kid: having a side hustle selling completed assignments to other students, crushing on a girl in his class, and saving up enough money for his true passion of making music. Benny is also extremely devoted to his family, including Jay and his abuela; when he learns of Jay’s predicament, he slowly starts planning to free his brother from Victor’s clutches.

Lendenborg also has immense chemistry with Ryan, whose vampire character actually has a heart, or at the very least, isn’t all in on the vampire domination plan. Allen is genuinely hypnotic and terrifying as Victor, who is a far cry from his performance as Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones. On the other hand, Fry’s take on a demented vampire party girl feels more like a poor impression of Stephen Dorff’s Deacon Frost, and some fans may cry foul at a blink-and-you’ll miss it appearance from Megan Fox as a vampire ruler.

Night Teeth doesn’t fully reach its potential thanks to an underdeveloped story and premise that feels like a disservice to its genuinely talented cast members and director. It’s fine for a Saturday night watch, but there are other, better vampire films out there.

Night Teeth is currently available to stream on Netflix.


Night Teeth
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

Night Teeth doesn’t fully reach its potential thanks to an underdeveloped story and premise that feels like a disservice to its genuinely talented cast members and director. It’s fine for a Saturday night watch, but there are other, better vampire films out there.