IANS Review: ‘Night Teeth’: Fangless but intriguing (IANS Rating: **1/2)

Film: Night Teeth (Streaming on Netflix)

Duration: 107 minutes

Director: Adam Randall

Cast: Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Debby Ryan, Lucy Fry, Raul Castillo, Alfie Allen, Marlene Forte, Alexander Ludwig, Ash Santos, Megan Fox and Sydney Sweeney

IANS Rating: **1/2Set in Los Angeles, ‘Night Teeth’ is a young adult rom-com designed in the vampire-thriller genre.

The film starts with neon-soaked frames flashing portraits of vampire history, and we are told about the suburb of Boyle Heights, which is the only place in Los Angeles where vampires are forbidden because of a truce made some years ago. But now, one vampire in his quest for power breaks that truce, which results in a war not only between humans and vampires, but among themselves as well.

The story revolves around Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), a chilled-out college kid who loves his college and creates his own music. He lives with his grandmother (Marlene Forte) and his brother Jay (Raul Castillo).

One day, filling in for his brother as a chauffeur, he pulls up to a Beverly Hills mansion, where he picks up Zoe (Lucy Fry) and Blaire (Debby Ryan), who say they want to go party-hopping around the city.

As he drives them from one venue to another, it soon becomes clear to Benny that something is amiss, and when he walks in on them, he realises that these two are not mere girls but vampires feasting on fresh blood. Soon he is introduced to the dark side of his neighbourhood and realises that the girls he is driving around are on a power trip along with Zoe’s boyfriend Victor (Alfie Allen).

The film is staged as a generic action crime thriller, but the narrative is kept afloat with romance brewing between Benny and Blaire, which makes this plot interesting. It certainly seems unrealistic to fall for a bloodsucker, but then, the film’s makers have shown that vampires do have a heart, and you keep wondering if Benny will survive the night, especially after he is asked, “You give good blood, don’t you?”

Every actor in the film is worth their salt and they deliver their chops with aplomb. Jorge Lendeborg as Benny is charming, Lucy Fry and Debby Ryan as taunting fashionistas are stereotyped and cliched, but they leave a bloodbath in their wake. We don’t get to see much of the action until much later in the film.

The action-by-the-numbers scenes nudge the plot grudgingly. Perfunctorily mounted, they do not elevate the gore, horror or thrills. By the third act, the moderately paced tale loses steam, but not its intrigue value as to what will happen to Benny.

(Troy Ribeiro can be contacted at troy.r@ians.in)