“Night Teeth” is another one of those vampire movies more concerned with “rules” and exposition and “explaining” how this world operates than most of the elements that make such genre pictures work.
The pacing is funereal, the reactions — or under-reactions — of anyone confronted with the realization that this blood-sucking creature of legend actually exists and lives in tony neighborhoods all over LA, are shockingly tame.
The action? Hit or miss, although I have to give credit the writer and director manage a bang-up climax. Sure, they blow it with an anti-climactic coda. But that’s to be expected. Horror movies aren’t allowed to make graceful exits. Not when there’s the chance to “get a franchise” out of this.
Jorge Lendeberg Jr. of “Bumblebee” is the hip-hop crazed college kid who takes his brother’s car-service Escalade out and picks up “Children of the Night” on the prowl for uh, fresh blood.
Benny dons the suit and tie because his brother, Jay (Raúl Castillo) has other concerns. Somebody snatched his girlfriend. That can only mean the vampires broke the long-standing peace between themselves and the Gangs of LA. Unknown to Benny, Jay is something of a peace-keeper in Boyle Heights.
But Jay had no idea that the clients Benny is summoned to pick up would be Blaine (Debbie Ryan) and Zoe Moreau (Lucy Fry). Rich, entitled, pouty and rude, they hand over the addresses of five parties and clubs which they plan to hit tonight, with the proviso that they “get to the last stop by morning…Non-negotiable.”
That isn’t the first “rule” the viewer has been treated to. And it won’t be the last.
To wit, vampires can stay in LA if they “Don’t let humans know we exist” and “Don’t feed on the unwilling (a kinky town expects no less)” and “Never ever enter Boyle Heights without permission.”
The kid spies the ruby token that the ladies use as admission to every place they go. He spies messages on a carelessly unlocked cell phone that reveals they know his brother, and think that’s who is driving them around. He spies the sack of money the ladies acquire, and notices it’s got blood on it.
And then a scream from inside a building, a quick peek inside, and…the horror, the horror.
Lendeberg had to master acting ongreen screens with digitally-added Transformers for “Bumblebee.” But he never comes anywhere near registering the terror, panic and shock Benny should experience when he sees club prowling hotties biting into bros who know what’s coming, but don’t expect it to be gruesome and terminal.
Ryan’s Blaine becomes the vampire to take a fancy to the innocent “driver,” and feels the need to “explain” their “world” and its rules to him, even though this question suggests why she feels this free.
“What would you do if tonight was your last night on Earth?”
Alfie Allen plays the vampire villain, Victor, who has broken the peace, and Sydney Sweeney and Megan Fox show up as vampires figuring they’ll take Victor down a notch or three.
The dialogue is littered with innuendo — “He gives real good…blood.” Mostly, it’s just snide putdowns of “your kind” by “out kind,” and terminal but tepid threats.
“She can drain your whole body before you pull the trigger.”
Still, as I mentioned above, the action beats are OK and the climax is cleverly conceived, even if so much that comes before it is dull and credulous, with Lendeberg never once registering an appropriate reaction to this supernatural horror that’s just been revealed to him, in all its gory glory.
Rating: TV-14, bloody violence
Cast: Jorge Lendeberg, Debbie Ryan, Lucy Fry, Raúl Castillo, Alfie Allen, Sydney Sweeney and Megan Fox.
Credits: Directed by Adam Randall, scripted by Brent Dillon. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:48