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See Beyond

How Movies like Night Teeth Can Bring Vampires Back to Cinema

Courtesy of Netflix

Once upon a time, vampires were the craze! Everyone wanted to see vampires in TV shows and movies… even when there was no point in having them on a show, like the case of Uta Refson (a backronym/semi-palindrome formed from “Nosferatu”) in The L Word Season 3, Episode 5 (2006). Notably, there was Vampire Diaries (2009 – 2017), The Twillight Saga (2008 – 2012), True Blood (2008 – 2014), and The Originals (2013 – 2018). We could not have enough vampires during this period of human history.

Suddenly, the vamps were not so much in our faces. It would seem as though the Vampire craze has slowly declined in recent times when we consider how shows and movies with the vampire motif were rife during the first half of the last decade (2011 -2015), only for the numbers to take a significant drop.

We can talk about how moviemakers and studio owners appear to be more interested in giving us reboots of old movies that have no business getting that treatment. It would be far-fetched if we were to assume that all the horrifying vampire stories have been told, considering how we experienced an influx, almost an overdose, of vampires between 2011 – 2015.Eight vampire movies have been released since the start of 2021 ‘till date. It so happens that most of them were not in our faces, unless you went to check for “Vampire Movies Released in 2021”. Then again, we can channel the blame in the direction of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the fear of disease caused a good number of us to avoid cinemas, despite them reopening. The best way to alert the public of new movies would be to have them on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and the likes. This is something Night Teeth  (2021) did, thereby separating it from the other seven vampire movies that were released in 2021.

Night Teeth is a modern day vampire story set in LA. Protagonist Benny (Jorge Lendenborg Jr.), a college student, has to drive two young women Blaire (Debby Ryan) and Zoë (Lucy Fry) to different “parties” (as they refer to the locations to which Benny is to drive them).

What begins as a fun ride soon spirals into a horror show for Benny. He goes in search of his passengers after they leave him in the car park of a swanky hotel. Soon, he finds them in one of the hotel rooms. There, he learns the women are indeed creatures of the night. They have blood smeared on their mouths. The reality of his job that night dawns on him when he learns his true aim for that evening: he is to take Blaire and Zoë across town to vampire lairs, and there they would get rid of other vamps. There is a new boss in town – Victor.

After twists and turns (both in the storyline and car rides), we see how love tears Blaire and Zoë apart. There were no hard-biting routines and low ambitions for these two as in the case of Joy Division’s 1980’s hit Love Will Tear Us Apart . It was all Benny. Benny happened to Blaire; Blaire questioned her loyalty to Zoë. The rest of the movie unravels and ties into a favorable denouement.

If you are a fan of horror, if you are someone who has been “desensitized” to horror, you are likely to think Night Teeth is child’s play. Although, there is blood and a little gore here and there, I would easily tag it as a fun to watch thriller with a love story running underneath. This story is beautifully told by using great dialogues and scenes. There are no redundant scenes, in my opinion.

This movie deviates from the commonplace concept of vampire movies being dark, with visual themes to express the story’s bleakness. In Night Teeth, we have trippy visuals, contemporary music and dialogue that reflect the times in which we live.

Night Teeth is the kind of vampire movie we need to see in contemporary cinema and other screens. It is action packed, has a little dose of comedy here and there, and moves at a fast pace. In our world where most of us have short attention spans, this movie is ideal. You just want to sit still and watch, and not have to pause unnecessarily.

With the rise in the rate of reboots, odds are that some movie studio would want to remake The Twilight Saga. Such a remake would be the horror itself, the way I see it. Moviemakers should be daring and go for new, fresh stories with vampires. Except ideas have been exhausted from “The Ether of the Unconscious”. It would not be hard to incorporate little elements from something out of an Anne Rice novel, add a little of contemporary themes – such as how a TikTok challenge by a 700-year-old vampire inspires a horde of teenagers into making questionable choices that lead to carnage. (I just might write this story.)

Being a fan of vampires, except for Edward Cullen and Fam., I would love to see more new vampires in shows and movies. I like to think Night Teeth has set the tone for movie makers who might desire to explore the vampire motif. These movies might not necessarily be set in modern times. All they need is action and thrill, tight storylines and dialogues. They don’t need to bring in a big star as a cameo or for one scene, as in the case of Megan Fox in Night Teeth. A spell-binding story would do.