Night Teeth Is a Disappointingly Anemic Vampire Thriller

Dept. of Rollin' and Hatin'


At this point you’d be hard pressed to find anyone on the planet that’s not familiar with the concept of vampires. The fun to be had with any new vampire experience then, is discovering what spin the filmmakers can put on the material. Like mixing vampirism with hyperreal Nordic weirdness and the horrifying reality of eternal youth (Let the Right One In), adding teen romance, shiny vampires, and a laughing Michael Sheen (Twilight) or sticking a half-vampire and her son on an international flight with terrorists on board (Blood Red Sky). 

So what’s Night Teeth’s unique take?


At first glance Night Teeth has all the appearances of a vampiric Collateral. A pair of female bloodsuckers, Zoe (Lucy Fry) and Blaire (Debby Ryan), take LA limo driver Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) hostage, as he chauffeurs them between bloodbaths over an evening. It sounds like the perfect set up for plenty of in-car conversations to build up your character’s relationships, while providing easily digestible glimpses into the world of vampires that the filmmakers have created.

Alas, things get needlessly complicated almost immediately.

In the world of Night Teeth, an animated intro tells us, vampires exist (although no one ever calls them that) in an uneasy truce with humans. A truce based on Vamps following three rules.

1) They’re not allowed to to let “normal” humans know they exist, 2) they can’t feed on the unwilling, and 3) never enter Boyle Heights without permission.

If that last one seems oddly specific, it highlights my first issue with the movie. Night Teeth seems to go out of its way to set up parts of its world while leaving others woefully underdeveloped.

It’s the Journey Not the Destination (Or Is It?)

The reason Boyle Heights is off limits is due to some past beef with some fearless vampire killers from there. This reveal, however, immediately raises more questions. What about the rest of the U.S., or even the world?

Similarly Night Teeth’s L.A. is carved up between five vampire bosses whom Zoe and Blaire are taking out on behalf of their boss, Victor (Alfie Allen), but by the time the movie starts one of the bosses has already been dealt with, Victor handles two others, the fourth is handled by someone unrelated to the vamps, and the fifth is incredibly anticlimactic. There’s never any reason given why these two vamps are particularly deadly compared to any others, and we don’t even get to see these two supposedly very dangerous ladies in action, except in the background of scenes. Even Victor (Alfie Allen) dispatches his main rivals off screen.

As well as its three rules, the film’s opening also outlines how most of what humans know about vampires is wrong, but then adds absolutely nothing new to the lore. Zoe and Blaire make a minor comment about the Boyle Heights crew and another group, the Night Legion, knowing what kills them, but it just seems to be the standard flaming arrows and knives to the chest. Like the Continental from John Wick, hints are given to a shadowy underworld of humans willing to bleed in return for money and power but, like everything else in this movie, goes unexplored.

It’s a pity, because a tighter focus might have helped make the movie shine. Like Kate and Project Power before it, Night Teeth looks great, with lots of neon lighting, but fails to do anything particularly memorable with its visuals.

What Could Have Been

Jorge Lendeborg Jr. delivers a fun, likeable performance as Benny, and his chemistry with Ryan is palpable. If only the film could resist flitting away from them all the time to explore less interesting threads. 

Even Benny’s involvement in the plot makes no damn sense. Unless the vampires’ secret power is bad planning? The main plot requires him to be driving the limo, but he’s only covering for his brother Jay (Raúl Castillo), who knows all about vampires as part of the Boyle Heights crew.

The thing is, these vamps hired the limo to capture Jay, but only after they very obviously kidnapped Jay’s girlfriend Maria. Victor and his girls expected Jay to turn up to his limo driver job as normal, after he’d seen Victor kidnap her. As opposed to, oh I dunno, rounding up a posse to go after him. Even if that had worked, their whole plan hinges on a member of a famous vampire crew utterly failing to notice that his passengers are vampires and just go along with their plan until he’s delivered to Victor at the very end of the night?

If it seems like I’m nitpicking, I am, but that’s because the film failed to hold my attention. After Benny figures out what’s going on, there’s almost zero tension in the movie. Night Teeth quickly establishes he can’t get away, but also that Blaire and Zoe aren’t going to do anything to him before the end of the night (and movie).

Night Teeth feels like it suffers either from the involvement in too many cooks, or from not enough time in the oven. Either way, the result is a forgettable vampire flick that lacks bite.

Night Teeth is now streaming on Netflix

Irish Film lover lost in Malaysia. Co-host of Malaysia's longest running podcast (movie related or otherwise ) McYapandFries and frequent cryer in movies. Ask me about "The Ice Pirates"

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