31 Days to Scare ~ Night Teeth

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The Facts:

Synopsis: A college student moonlighting as a chauffeur picks up two mysterious women for a night of party-hopping across LA. But when he uncovers their bloodthirsty intentions – and their dangerous, shadowy underworld – he must fight to stay alive.

Stars: Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Debby Ryan, Lucy Fry, Raúl Castillo, Alfie Allen, Alexander Ludwig, Sydney Sweeney, Megan Fox

Director: Adam Randall

Rated: NR

Running Length: 107 minutes

TMMM Score: (7/10)

Review:  If I haven’t said it enough already in the last few months, let me say it unequivocally: Netflix is truly running circles around the other streaming services (and Hollywood studios) in bringing back the pleasingly retro films that were made for mass appeal consumption in theaters two decades ago…but with a modern eye.  Already scoring this summer and again earlier this month with resurrections of the teen slasher film (the Fear Street trilogy {1994, 1978, 1666}, and There’s Someone Inside Your House), they’ve now got a sleek and stylish vampire flick on their hands, and I sure hope they treat it better than they did another one they unjustly ignored in July.  That would be Blood Red Sky, a wild action film that can be summarized bluntly as ‘vicious vampires on a hijacked plane’ but is way, way more insane that that.  The L.A. set Night Teeth is less in your face but every bit as entertaining in the way it unfolds at its own pace, benefitting from a charismatic cast and a sleek production overseen by director Adam Randall.

I’ve loved vampire movies ever since I can remember, voraciously reading all that I could, going as “Generic Vampire with Cape” for Halloween during my formative years more than a few times, and seeing every fanged flick that came out…but there’s a stumbling block I’ve found with each new one that arises up from its coffin.  With so many variations to the vampire lore, the rules are always changing so no two groups of bloodsuckers are ever quite the same.  Usually, this is just an excuse for lazy writers to work around small budgets, tiny talent, or miniscule creative input but first-time writer Brent Dillon finds an interesting morsel of a hook to set the stage for the events of Night Teeth that felt unforced for once. 

Turf wars have led to a long-standing rivalry between different tribes of vampires in and around the Los Angeles area.  As part of a truce enacted, tribes were expected to never feed on the unwilling, stay in their own neighborhoods, and never cross into the realm of another without being expressly invited…and that rarely happens.  Making sure the night hunters keep to their word is a band of human protectors and at the opening of Night Teeth it’s Jay (Raúl Castillo, Wrath of Man) one of these guards. that first realizes one tribe is about to start something big when he and his girlfriend come face to face with Victor (Alfie Allen, John Wick), a creepy leader for a tribe that isn’t known for playing nice.  It’s nearly sunrise, though, so any more action will have to wait for later that evening. 

Meanwhile, Jay’s brother Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Bumblebee) is a college student trying to make ends meet while dreaming of becoming a music producer.  Living with his grandmother and occasionally seeing Jay pop in, he’s a tad sheltered and doesn’t get out much. After overhearing Jay’s heated phone exchange, Benny convinces his unusually distracted older brother to let him fill in at his car service job to make some extra cash.  Posing as Jay, he sets out for a supposedly easy night chauffeuring for just one booking but after meeting the beautiful Blaire (Debby Ryan, The Opening Act) and her vixen-ish pal Zoe (Lucy Fry, Vampire Academy) he’ll wish he stayed home and finished mixing his latest demo track.  Because these are deadly dames.

Writer Dillon and director Randall keep most of Night Teeth tight and taut, never letting what could start to feel repetitious (Benny takes the women to a series of parties/locales where they enact some carnage in service to Victor’s plot to take over the L.A. scene) get too stale by the third round.  There are enough interesting things going on with Benny slowly discovering what’s going on after a few stops and characters that refreshingly aren’t obnoxious toxics so you want to remain engaged.  Usually in these movies a couple is thrown together just for some standard romantic entanglement but in Night Teeth the chemistry feels genuine, another piece that works for the overall benefit of its success.  I liked the energy Ryan and Fry were putting out there and enjoy even more what Lendeborg was giving back to them in return.

I don’t say it often but even at nearly two hours, the movie is just as long as it needs to be.  I’m not sure if I would have cut out anything because this was far more enjoyable than even the souped-up preview would have you believe.  I could have even done with more of certain aspects, like the all-too brief cameos of Megan Fox (Till Death) and Sydney Sweeney (Nocturne) as mavens of one tribe who realize far too late they’ve underestimated a rival.  For all you Fox fans that may be coming to this one expecting your queen to play a significant role…don’t expect too much.  If I tell you she only had one day of filming, does that give you an idea of what you’ll be getting?

While this might pair nice with Blood Red Sky for a double dose of vampire mayhem, double sides of Netflix’s most polished bloodsucking coin, I’d suggest you check out Randall’s previous film as well.  I See You came out in 2019 and is a sneaky little horror nugget that gets under your skin far more than you might think.  Like Night Teeth, it’s made with generous amount of style but doesn’t let any kind of flare overwhelm the necessary storytelling.  Do make the effort to sink your chompers into Night Teeth, especially to show Netflix these kinds of movies are valued and encourage them to make more!

 

One comment on “31 Days to Scare ~ Night Teeth

  1. […] “Needle in a Timestack,” “The Last Duel,” “The Rescue,” “Night Teeth,” “Malignant” and […]

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