What is the story about?
Breaking a decades-old truce between vampires and humans, vampire Victor takes away Maria, the girlfriend of vampire hunter Jay, and threatens to devour humans in the neighbourhood of Boyle Heights in Los Angeles. On a mission to rescue Maria, Jay attempts to rally other vampire hunters in a bid to take down Victor. He sends his younger brother Benny to moonlight as a cab driver in his place. Posing as Jay, Benny picks up Blaire and Zoe, two mysterious women who want to tour all the prominent clubs of LA by dawn. As the night progresses, Benny realizes the two women are vampires, and have been sent by Victor to kill his rivals. With his own life in danger, can Benny save himself and his neighbourhood from Victor's plans?
On some days, watching a Netflix original film feels like watching an algorithm play out over one-and-a-half-hours. Night Teeth, for the most part, feels like the sort of movie that would get dreamed up by an algorithm. A clueless young boy who goes to college and has self-esteem issues? Check. Two mysterious women who change his life over the course of a life? Check. A centuries-old tussle between humans and vampires? Check. Lots of wisecracks about blood and sunlight? Check.
Playing out as a weird hybrid of the Tom Cruise-starrer Collateral and the Twilight films, Night Teeth is not really aspiring to be an Oscar-winner. But in trying to pack in too many elements, it surely loses its footing. While Jay tries to assemble his entire band of human warriors in order to protect Boyle Heights, we see the hapless Benny running around nighttime Los Angeles with Blaire and Zoe in tow, as they feast on humans. And then there's the antagonist Victor, who wants the vampires to trump over the humans, even if that means breaking a decades-old truce and killing some of his fellow vampires. In the middle of all this, we also see a love story blossoming between Benny and Blaire, even as she keeps devouring one body after the other. It would have been fun if it had all coalesced together--and Night Teeth does have its moments of glory--but Brent Dillon's screenplay sags under the weight of its own ambition and takes the film down a lot. Things are set up for a possible sequel, but honestly you couldn't care less.
The performances are okay. Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is all right as Benny, though he is clearly hamstrung by the screenplay. Debby Ryan relishes her role (pun intended) as Blaire, who strikes up a romance with Benny over the course of a crazy night. Lucy Fry is inconsistent as Zoe, while Alfie Allen hams it up a lot as Victor. Raul Castillo is too staccato, but he somehow makes the character of Jay work. The rest of the cast of average.
Music & Other Departments
Eben Bolter's cinematography makes Los Angeles come alive at night, especially in one sequence where the roads stretch out like arteries. Jeremy Reed's production design is slick.
The opening sequence is neatly done. Also the sequence at the nightclub with Benny, Zoe and Blaire is stylishly choreographed.
The screenplay tries to pack in too many themes, and they collectively make the film less fun.
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?
You can give this a watch only if you have nothing better to do.