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Film / We Are the Night

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"If you don't want to be like everyone else, you've got two choices: You either get crushed in their world - or you build your own."

Lena is a twenty-something girl who lives together with her mother in Berlin and tries to live off what little they have - and of what she can steal. All of a sudden, she attracts the attention of two very different parties: the Berlin police, especially the curious policeman Tom, for a particularly cheeky theft and a band of three vampiresses who discover her in an underground club. The eldest of the vampires, Louise, falls in love with Lena and bites her to make her a new companion.

While Lena is scared at first, the other vampires, Louise and her younger companions - Charlotte and Nora - quickly introduce her to the positive aspects of her new "life": supernatural powers, enhanced attractiveness, endless parties and every luxury she can dream of. But while Louise does her best to make Lena love the experience as a vampire, both Charlotte and Nora let on hints to the darker sides of it. And it all goes downhill when Tom and Lena take a liking to each other - and Louise, who waited centuries to find her perfect partner, is not amused about a mortal man standing in her way.

We Are the Night is a German live action movie from the year 2010, and was released in US theaters in May 2011. Although the first version of the script was already finished in 1999, it was necessary for other vampire movies like Twilight to become popular for the author to be granted the necessary sponsoring to produce it. The author/director is the same guy who is responsible for The Wave (2008), Dennis Gansel. The movie was received as a pleasant change from the freshly risen Twilight routine by the German audience, so the producers decided to release it in other countries as well. Up until now it has been released in France, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and the US.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: The female vampire quartet are all quite capable of combat, largely with their super strength. Lena kills a Russian mobster, then the others slaughter all but one among their gang. Charlotte then kills an entire SWAT team, while Lena and Louise get into a vicious battle later.
  • Aerith and Bob: If you're British, Louise and Charlotte are popular contemporary names, but Nora is a comedy name for old ladies.
  • The Ageless: The vampires display this, as usual. It's neatly shown at the beginning with a montage of photos which feature Louise and Charlotte across the years (at many famous events). It ends with Louise's appearance in an 18th century painting.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Charlotte, who's a brunette and mostly appears cold to the other vampires, although she does show kindness sometimes. It turns out to be a result of severe depression, and she eventually kills herself.
  • Amazon Chaser:
    • Tom is more turned on than hurt by the fact that Lena kicks him in the nuts to escape arrest at his hands. Over the rest of the film, he chases her, and at the end they go on the run.
    • Louise, similarly, is visibly entranced by the fact that Lena threw her off after she'd been bitten to run away. She later gets Lena into her group, with clearly amorous intentions.
  • Ambiguous Ending: We don't really know what became of Lena and Tom.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Lena lives with her mother, with no appearance or mention of her father.
  • Anti-Villain: Louise, Charlotte and Nora all count, since they show no remorse for killing most of their human victims and even a lot of other vampires, but Louise takes the cake: after her beloved Sire died (likely committing suicide), she had to live an entire century alone, desperately looking for a companion. No wonder she snaps when Tom "takes" Lena away from her. They're saved from being outright villains due to showing genuine love and affection toward others (even if Louise gets pretty creepy about it), while ultimately being tragic figures.
  • Anyone Can Die: Most of the main cast are dead by the end of the film.
  • Asshole Victim: The vampires kill a bunch of vicious Russian bratva gangsters.
  • Badass Bookworm: Charlotte is constantly seen reading books and has a taste for taking her victims' firearms and using them against them.
  • Bad Liar: Lena lies to people twice, and both times they see through it instantly, as a result of them being forced or very implausible.
  • Bathtub Scene: Lena gets one after she's turned by Louise, to help clean her up. While in it, her hair dye washes out, with her injuries, piercings and tattoos vanishing as her Healing Factor kicks in. There's no explicit nudity, but she's shown topless from the back getting in and afterward.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Lena is in a love triangle with Louise, the centuries' old vampire who recently turned her, and Tom, a human police officer who is tracking Lena and eventually the other vampires (making it overlap with Muggle and Magical Love Triangle). Louise deliberately turned Lena to be a companion for her (which was how Louise herself was turned, with her sire later dying) and although Lena appreciates the glamorous new life she has as a vampire, she's also deeply unsettled by Louise's willingness to kill even innocent people (Louise also didn't consult Lena before turning her). Tom is comparatively much more moral and also cares for Lena even after learning she's a vampire but as Louise points out, unless Lena turns him she'll outlive him by centuries. Louise ends up kidnapping Tom and demands Lena tell her she loves her; Lena does but Louise knows it's a lie, prompting her to shoot Tom. Lena in turn kills her. The ending leaves things somewhat ambiguous, but it's implied Lena indeed turned Tom to save his life.
  • Black Comedy: There is a running gag about Louise being really annoyed whenever Nora kills somebody without thinking about the consequences.
  • Blessed with Suck: The vampires. Despite their wealth and ability to enjoy food, sex and drugs, Nora is the only one who seems to really enjoy being a vampire, but she is worried about killing any boy she might get close too (which she does) in a really extreme version of the Hedgehog's dilemma, Charlotte has sunken into a depression because she misses her daughter, having missed her entire life, Louise realized long ago that all her wealth and luxury is pointless without any one to share it with and Lena is horrified by having to kill humans in order to survive.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: Lena becomes a vampire, after she falls for Tom, the human police detective after her. The couple get together and run away at the end.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Lena has short, dyed black hair at the start as part of her goth style. She's also something of a tomboy, dressing in a very masculine way at first and fighting off Tom (although she gets a more feminine style later).
  • Call-Back: In the opening, Louise, Charlotte and Nora jump out of a plane after they'd killed everyone on board, with it shown veering toward Paris below. Lena listens to a news report on the radio later where a plane crashing into Paris is mentioned.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Possibly one of the greatest Celebrity Paradoxes of all time occurs in this film; on the airplane in the first scene a television is showing The Wave directed by Dennis Gansel. No less than three of the actors from The Wave star in We Are The Night and two of them play leads. It gets weirder considering that one of the actresses from The Wave (Jennifer Ulrich) is in the same room as the television showing the film and another actress from The Wave (Christina DeRega) is in the toilet next to the room. The weirdness goes to extreme level if you see a deleted scene featuring Dennis Gansel as a police officer, considering he both directed and starred in The Wave.
  • Color Motif: The film uses yellow, blue and red heavily. This is partly because these are primary colors and the two former would work well aesthetically with the color of blood. More importantly, the day scenes and the tragic scenes uses dull yellow light. The night scenes (especially in the first half) are much more colorful than any of the day scenes, pointing the colorlessness of Lena's life and the glamour of the vampires.
  • Cop Killer: Charlotte slaughters an entire SWAT team attempting to arrest her along with the other vampires, using their guns against them for part of it.
  • Cute and Psycho: Nora. She acts very sweet and cheerful, but also happens to love her blood rushes. Deconstructed a little when she actually behaves rude towards someone and later explains to Lena that she does it to protect him from her bloodlust. It doesn't work.
  • Credits Gag: The earless mobster is named "van Gogh" in the credits.
  • Discretion Shot: Although the vampiresses love themselves a little gorefest or two every now and then one will rarely see anything worse than flowing blood. The same goes for sex, which is implied but never shown.
  • Driven to Suicide: Charlotte kills herself after her elderly daughter dies, with signs she was depressed even before at her life as a vampire.
  • Eye Scream: Charlotte puts out her cigarette with her eye, just to freak out a restaurant patron. In her defense, the eye heals instantly.
  • Fair Cop: Tom is a police detective and very handsome.
  • Fang Thpeak: Originally the vampire teeth worn by the actresses caused this, but the make-up designers invented a new model that averted this and worked so well that the actresses sometimes forgot that they wore them.
  • Forceful Kiss: Louise initiates an intense kiss with Lena without asking. Lena pushes her away, and bites Louise's lip while doing so. Afterward Louise berates herself over going too fast.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Charlotte's depression over eternal life while her daughter has aged to an old woman is hinted when early on she fingers a baby's shoe in the store while staring at it wistfully before Louise draws her away. Charlotte is eventually depressed enough at her daughter dying from old age that she ends her life.
    • Nora begs Louise to let her take a Russian mobster's yellow Lamborghini. Louise says no, since she already has two red ones and never drives either. However, we later learn Nora stole it anyway, which also leads the police to them and causes Nora's death.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Both played straight with Lena and subverted with Nora. While Nora always appears friendly and happy, she also enjoys killing mortals for blood. Lena on the other hand doesn't want to kill people and is having a real problem with drinking blood from anything that isn't a traditional drinking vessel.
  • Gendercide: Louise tells Lena that all male vampires were wiped out by the females in the past because they were too reckless, and risked the vampire race being hunted down by humanity through exposure.
  • Goth:
    • Lena has a somewhat goth style haircut, plus black or dark clothes, with a lot of piercings and tattoos. Initially she's a grungy pickpocket.
    • Meanwhile, Nora has a similar hairstyle, with goth style clothing but in bright colors, as a very perky example.
  • Go Out with a Smile: While being thrown out of the building and into the sunlight, which causes her to burn up, Louise smiles. This possibly means she's a death seeker at heart, or is after seeing Lena doesn't want her.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Many different shades. Lena will steal money, but doesn't want to kill people, which can be an example of Even Evil Has Standards. Her initial struggle with Tom is White-and-Grey Morality. The vampires take on brutal Russian pimps and rapists, an example of Black-and-Gray Morality. Of course, they also kill completely innocent people, which can be White-and-Grey Morality or straight Black-and-White Morality, depending on your view. Charlotte's killing of the guard especially comes off as really pointless. At one point Louise shows remorse for killing innocent people, but only because she promised Lena she wouldn't. If all four vampires are grey, Lena is certainly a lighter shade. Between all of this, plus the various moments of Pet the Dog, it's hard to say exactly how good or evil any of these characters are.
  • Groin Attack: Tom gets a hard kick in the nards from Lena.
  • Healing Factor: The vampires have this, healing from multiple gunshot wounds, being stabbed or the initial bite which infects them. However, full on exposure to sunligth kills them no matter what.
  • Honey Trap: After being discovered in a pool after hours by security guards, Nora and Louise entice them into the water with the implicit promise of sex. Though Louise promises Lena they won't be harmed, first Nora fatally drain's one man's blood and then Charlotte cuts the other's throat.
  • Horror Hunger: Lena experiences this after being turned by Louise, suddenly desiring to drink blood. Once she wants to drink blood from living people however she's horrified and absolutely refuses to.
  • Hypocrite: Louise states all male vampires had to die because they were too loud and boisterous, drawing attention to them. Meanwhile her group is killing humans every night, often in an unusual fashion, recklessly driving their cars around town on high speed, and indulge in illegal activities. Hell, even in this very scene Charlotte draws attention to them because she puts out her cigarette by burning her eye.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Charlotte to Louise, but it's implied that they grew apart after a long process. And later in the movie, even Lena evolves to this.
  • I Love You, Vampire Son: Louise turned both Charlotte and Lena because she fell in love with them. While she accepts Charlotte's resistance after a while, she doesn't want to let go of Lena's heart. And she reacts rather sensitively to losing Charlotte, too. It becomes creepier when you realize thanks to the director that Louise turned Nora not only because of her looks, but so that she and Charlotte could have a "child" together, and Charlotte could have a sort of replacement for her real daughter. Charlotte and Nora share a passionate kiss, and Charlotte strokes Nora's hair at one point.
  • In Da Club: The "Nightlife"-sequence, where Lena goes into the nightclub which the vampires own. It's full of attractive young people dancing. Louise spots and dances flirtatiously with Lena, clearly smitten by her. It's nicely maintained, without signs of intoxication or riffraff.
  • Inside Job: Due to his connection with Lena, Tom is suspected of being a Dirty Cop involved with the prime suspects by Lummer and Internal Affairs and is arrested along with Lena.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The entrance scene shows the vampiresses in a plane full of corpses, probably mostly innocent people. It doesn't seem to bother them at all.
    • Later in the movie, Nora invokes a Kick the Dog moment right in front of Lena's eyes when the women lure two watchmen towards them and kill them although such harsh means were not necessarily justified. Needless to say, Lena doesn't take it very well.
  • Kubrick Stare: Both Lena and Louise provide these.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Lena initially is dressed in a rattie sweatshirt and pants with short hair, which makes Tom believe she's a man at first. She exploits this through stealing a dress on the run, changing into that and throwing her old clothes out. He discovers what happened only when close up to her.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Louise definitely is; she's explicitly attracted to Charlotte, Nora and Lena, while never showing any desire for men. She chose all three initially for their looks to be her companions in vampire life. Nora and Charlotte's kiss as well could point to them being bisexual (note Charlotte stroking Nora's hair and her reaction to Nora's death). The director says that Charlotte is open to sexual relations with both men and women and that Charlotte actually agreed to be bitten.
  • Lipstick Lesbian:
    • Louise is a very elegant lesbian vampire who always wears stylish skirts or dresses along with her long hair.
    • Charlotte is indicated to be bisexual, with a very similar style.
    • Nora is implied to be bi as well, with a perky goth look and otherwise acts very girly, even childishly so.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Nora seems very happy with her life as a vampire, saying it means anything you want to buy, with no consequences of drugs, food or sex. She's also the youngest until Lena joins them. Louise attempts to sell Lena on it too, but admits it's only bearable with other people. Charlotte on the other hand is depressed to the point of suicide by this point over it and soured on the life. Lena initially appears somewhat happy with their swanky lifestyle, but then grows increasingly horrified at them killing people to feed. Charlotte, on the other hand, has grown so unhappy with her lot that after her very elderly daughter dies, she ends her life.
  • The Mafiya: A group of Russian gangsters in Berlin feature as prey/antagonists.
  • Mook Horror Show: The vampires kill a group of Russian gangsters with ease, and the sole survivor later is a paranoid wreck after seeing it.
  • Mugging the Monster: Louise invokes this by "selling" Lena to a Russian pimp, since it will trigger her new vampire nature. Sure enough, after he beats her up, she soon kills him, with the guy clearly unaware that she's a vampire.
  • No Name Given: Except for Tom (Serner, from his answering machine message) and Lena (Bach, from her police record), none of the characters' last names are ever revealed.
  • Not Using The V Word: The word "vampire" is never spoken by anyone, even when it is made quite obvious what these women are.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Tom and Lummer.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Lena talks to Louise in the bathroom, turns and realises that Louise does not cast a reflection.
  • One-Gender Race: Vampires are all female, thanks to all of the male vampires having been exterminated for being too noticeable.
  • Only Sane Man: Lummer is the only character without any personality disorders or mental problems.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're standard to modern portrayals overall-feeding on blood, living forever if not killed, destroyed by direct sunlight. However, they also differ in some ways, for instance being able to walk on walls, and solely being female (though not naturally, rather as a result of the males all being killed off).
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Charlotte mentions having a baby daughter before becoming a vampire, and later she attends said daughter at the hospital, old and on her deathbed.
  • Perky Goth: Nora is perhaps the archetype. While sporting a goth haircut and dress style, she's also a very cheerful, energetic vampire.
  • Pet the Dog: Louise tries to do this when Lena freaks out over the injured watchmen. The others don't seem to get why. She had apologized to the stewardess and killed her off quickly in the opening scene too.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In the opening scene Louise is rather annoyed about Nora killing off the entire plane crew and Charlotte's insistence to finish her book when they need to jump out of the plane.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Even apart from being a vampire who lacks any qualms about killing humans to feed, Louise is a huge yandere toward woman she's attracted by. She turns Lena without asking to have a companion.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Louise is more than two hundred years old, but appears to be at most forty. Charlotte is over a hundred, but looks around thirty. Nora is thirty seven, but still appears to be about twenty.
  • Reincarnation Romance: When Louise talks about her own sire, she states that she was looking for someone with the same glint in her eyes, hinting at the wish to find a reincarnation of her former companion.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Louise gives Lena a post-transformation bath during which all of her various wounds heal, her tattoos and piercings disappear, her hair grows longer, and the black dye dissolves to show her natural auburn color. Afterward, she appears significantly more conventionally attractive overall. She looks so different that it's almost as if she was a different person.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The film becomes more dark and dramatic after Perky Goth Nora dies.
  • Slashed Throat: Charlotte uses a piece of paper to cut a security guard's throat with one slice.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Charlotte. She's largely cold and indifferent to others. However, at times she displays kindness. It's implied to result from her depression, so she may well have been warmer in the past.
  • Suicide by Sunlight: Charlotte, a depressed vampire, kills herself after her elderly daughter dies through going into the sun, which instantly burns her up.
  • Super-Strength: The vampires get this. Although appearing to be just ordinary women, they can toss around much larger men with ease and kill them using only their bare hands (via neck snap when not draining their blood).
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Nora. She stole a car from the mobsters the vampires killed—a Lamborghini no less—without considering that the police would be able to use it to connect them to the murders. She is the one to die when the cops do just that.
    • She also killed the pilot in the beginning, so the vampires had to crash the plane.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Lena is shown this way as she gets in and out of the bath.
  • Training from Hell: To teach Lena how to be a vampire, Louise and the other two give her to Russian pimps, who try to beat and rape her, in order to trigger her natural defense mechanisms. The other three still have to step in to prevent Lena from being too badly beaten.
  • Tsundere: Lena towards Tom, and Nora towards a young man from the staff of their hotel. Both do it to protect the men and to keep up the Masquerade.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: It's obvious that the women know where the carotid is—almost every bite ends in a red puddle.
  • Vampires Are Rich: The women lead a very wealthy lifestyle. They live in a high-end hotel suite, can afford frequent dinners at fancy restaurants and shopping sprees, and own several expensive cars (though at least one of the cars was stolen), including customized "safe cars" with heavily tinted glass windows to protect them from sunlight.
  • Vampires Own Night Clubs: Louise, Nora, and Charlotte own an underground nightclub. Louise runs the club, Nora is the DJ, and according to the director Charlotte handles the finances.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Played straight with Lena and averted with the others. The women have refrigerated bottles of blood that they drink, though the movie never explains where they come from. However, Louise, Charlotte, and Nora also gleefully feed on people in the traditional manner when given the opportunity. In addition, Lena sucks blood from pieces of raw meat on two occasions.
  • Wall Crawling: The vampires can walk on walls and ceilings as easily as they can walk across the floor, though it apparently requires a bit of practice to be able to maintain this for long.
  • What Have I Become?: Lena gets a lot of these moments. She's distraught at realizing that as a vampire she's going to feed on blood for survival.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Charlotte is depressed with being immortal, because she had a husband and daughter who were left behind when Louise made her a vampire. After watching her now very old daughter die in a nursing home, Charlotte takes her own life.
  • Workaholic: Tom, which Lummer calls him out on.
  • Would Hit a Girl: The Russian pimp who Louise "sells" Lena to unsurprisingly has no hesitation about beating her. Later, more understandably police use force to arrest the women (or at least try) when they fight back.
  • Yandere: Louise to Lena - oh so much. She deeply pines for the younger woman, since by now her last love (Charlotte), is entirely cold toward her. She made Lena a vampire to have a companion, as otherwise she's desperately lonely.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: The earless Russian mobster, when he's talking to the police about what he saw. Unsurprisingly, Tom and Lummer think he was on drugs.
    Lummer: Why did you burn your partners?
    Mobster: I didn't kill anyone. It was the women. They had the devil's eyes, and they ran on the ceiling!
    Lummer: Oh, so they have wings? They can fly?
  • You Need to Get Laid: Whenever Tom and Lummer do not talk about work, Lummer talks about how Tom needs a girlfriend, and that is maybe why he smiles at the end of the film.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Slightly hinted at in a conversation between Lena and the other women. When Lena asks if there are male vampires too, Louise states that they murdered them all because they just were too noticeable. If that's not an allusion to sparkling skin and bloody meals on stage as well as various other works, nothing is.