Night Teeth Review – IGN
Night Teeth premieres Wednesday, Oct. 20 on Netflix.
An aspiring young musician from East L.A. takes his brother’s limo shift to earn some extra cash and winds up inadvertently hosting two beautiful vampire assassins on their kill rounds in a moderately successful undead take on Michael Mann’s Collateral called Night Teeth. Despite its lush Los Angeles production and charming performances from Bumblebee‘s Jorge Lendeborg Jr. and former Disney TV star Debby Ryan, Night Teeth takes a simple premise and bogs it down with unnecessary lore and vampire politics, robbing the tale of the bulk of its bite.
Night Teeth certainly has style to spare, as director Adam Randall and cinematographer Eben Bolter make the visuals (and bottles) pop while the new wave/trip hop pulses from Drum & Lace and Ian Hultquist help create a surreal dream-like atmosphere, like the kind felt in 2011’s Drive. Only through Netflix these days could this story and this cast get such a lavish neon noir treatment, and the vibe does help sell the the idea of a vampiric underworld operating just underneath the societal surface of L.A. The end result, though, is one of candy-coated mayhem rather than something with true sinister resonance.
During this fateful fang-filled night, Lendeborg Jr.’s Benny finds himself traversing a gamut of emotions as he finds himself embroiled in the carnage caused by Ryan’s Blaire and Lucy Fry’s more psychotically unhinged Zoe. Benny freaks, frets, folds, and even briefly finds himself a participant at home as someone enjoying the perks of being a VIP.
All the while, Benny and Blaire (who’s the kinder of the two bloodsucking clients) begin to seriously dig each other and a quirky romance percolates. It may seem silly to slip this flirty bit of fluff into the mix, but it works, mostly because of the two leads and their ability to present a believable connection.
Meanwhile, the rest of the story is a bit of a mess, as a vampire boss, Victor (Game of Thrones‘ Alfie Allen), takes his shot at wiping out the other vampire bosses in a power grab, using Blaire and Zoe as his weapons. And then there’s Benny’s brother, Jay (Raúl Castillo), who’s on a mission to stop Victor from wrecking a generations-spanning truce between humans and vampires.
This chaos allows Night Teeth to throw in some fun, but also ultimately wasteful, cameos. The most notable ones are Megan Fox and Sydney Sweeney (Euphoria, The White Lotus), but the actor who seems to have to most fun with his pop-in is Heels/Vikings‘ Alexander Ludwig. Regardless, the famous faces that make their brief showings are more distracting than engaging. Even Allen, as the film’s villain, feels bland and adrift here.
Antagonist-wise, Fry’s Zoe is the better foil as a vampire who freely admits that immorality can cause one to go a touch insane. Plus, as Blaire’s sire, Zoe becomes an obstacle for both her bestie and Benny as they begin to develop feelings for each other. Fry provides much needed zest and zeal for Night Teeth, operating as a nice juxtaposition to the luxuriant music and imagery.
This doesn’t mean the character pays off the way she should, or that the movie isn’t still hampered by the vampire hunter side story, but having the main three be an entertaining trio helps this ride get a more-than-fair rating.