There’s just enough going on in Night Teeth to warrant more than a passing glance during an evening of Netflix indecision this Halloween. Sure, it’s easy to dismiss a movie that appears on the service with little-to-no fanfare, and that seems to be the kind of horror flick we’d have once found in the bargain bin at Woolworths. But Night Teeth‘s is slick enough to belie its meagre expenditure.
Some of the money was clearly waved under the nose of Megan Fox, who spent at least half a day on set in order to help sell the proposition, as well as half an hour in a recording booth voicing the film’s opening monologue. It’s an opening that does a sterling job of summing the film up – a turgid script reveals the backstory of a world peppered with blood-sucking vampires, accompanied by some striking visuals that set the scene.
The plot largely centres on Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr), a homely young chap whose elder brother Jay (Raúl Castillo) is, unbeknown to Benny, a shady vampire-hunting type who also drives a limo around LA. Obviously. So when Jay has to go in search of his girlfriend, who has been abducted by vamp overlord Victor (Alfie Allen), Benny takes over his brother’s limo driving duties for the evening.
As (bad) luck would have it, Benny’s job for the night is to drive a pair of women (Debby Ryan and Lucy Fry) to a variety of nightclubs and parties, although the pair have a lot more going on than just partying. As Victor’s henchwomen, they’re on a mission to bump off other vampires before the sun rises.
It’s almost a beat-for-beat rip-off of the Tom Cruise/Jamie Foxx vehicle Collateral, replete with a visit to the car driver’s mother. Still, Lendeborg Jr. sells the whole affair with his innocent, bumbling turn as the kid while Ryan and Fry do their best to chomp on the scenery as the over-confident, bloodthirsty ghouls. Particularly in Ryan’s case, the scenery often gets stuck in her fangs.
In fairness to the storytelling, Night Teeth sometimes plays out as an interesting mystery, and while director Adam Randall and cinematographer Eben Bolter have lifted the aesthetic straight out of John Wick‘s playbook, it’s the look, feel and sometimes dizzying camerawork that keeps this tale interesting when the script flags.
As is often the case with Netflix, this is a Frankenstein creation constructed from parts of better movies that came before, presumably because that’s what makes the algorithm happy. Collateral, Blade, Daybreakers – this is derivative stuff. As a result, it all fits together like a picture made from three different jigsaws. Subplots go missing for extended periods and the characters often don’t make much sense. While that stuff is easy to ignore, it’s a missed opportunity to build something far more interesting from a well-worn set-up. You could do worse than to ignore the title and hit play on Night Teeth this Halloween, just don’t expect too many surprises.
- Director: Adam Randall
- Starring: Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Debby Ryan, Lucy Fry
- Release date: October 20 (Netflix)