Night Teeth (2021) Glows in the Dark Despite Dull Script
Title: Night Teeth
First Non-Festival Release: October 20, 2021 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Adam Randall
Writer: Brent Dillon
Runtime: 107 Minutes
Starring: Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Debby Ryan, Lucy Fry, Raúl Castillo
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Benny (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) convinces his brother Jay (Raúl Castillo) to let him chauffer for the night so Jay can handle some unrelated business. After driving through L.A., he meets his clients for the evening the icy Zoe (Lucy Fry) and the spirited Blaire (Debby Ryan). While driving them from party to party, Benny starts to suspect something is awry in their evening plans. Drawn by his curiosity, he sneaks into one of the parties only to find the two women involved in some seriously twisted activities, of which include drinking the blood from willing victims. He’ll soon find out what their dark intentions are as they take him on the ride of his life, or death.
Despite some extra bloating, Night Teeth accelerates into the night with booze, mob bosses, and vampire bites.
The story and worldbuilding is slowly introduced throughout the film, which is largely nice. There is a lot to chew on even if it doesn’t neatly come together in the end. By the time the crew gets to third party or so, the plot begins to drag, and the film suffers as a result. It gets rather formulaic and reliant on tropes introduced. Between shootouts, hidden monster underworlds, and falling in love over the course of a night, Night Teeth hits every cliché in the book. Don’t get me wrong; it works, but I think more could have been done to subvert these expectations.
Night Teeth’s long runtime allows for the leads to be rather well-developed here. There’s enough breathing room to understand their motivations and hopes throughout the film in a genuine manner. Unfortunately, a lot of supporting characters feel like nothing more than fodder after brief introductions. Some antagonists and obstacles arise that don’t get fully resolved or explained. Quick exposition drops expose us to yet another underground organization that pops out of nowhere to put an end to the villainous quest of the antagonists.
The leads do a great job here at making the film a lively and entertaining ride despite the flatness of the script. Jorge Lendeborg Jr.’s fluidity is put to the test as he vacillates between nervous, calm, daring, and protective as Benny. His energy brings a youthfulness and down-to-earth quality to the film that makes Benny extremely likeable and easy to root for. Zoe Fry looks like she is having an absolute blast as the hot-headed and controlling Zoe. Her chaos keeps the film going and even gives it a slight unpredictable edge. Rounding out the trio, Debby Ryan has great chemistry with both Fry and Lendeobrg Jr. She navigates her seductress role with more nuance and grace than others would have.
While it very much feels like a newer and lesser rendition of earlier vampire action horror hybrids, Night Teeth is still a fun film. It’s very flashy with a clear neon aesthetic which shows that the filmmaker favor style over substance. Honestly, I’m not mad about it. The hip hop soundtrack works exceptionally well from a character and storytelling perspective. It also has some absolute bangers for the club and party scenes, which is a nice distraction. Between some memorable fight sequences, sharp dialogue, and solid effects, Night Teeth skates by on the sum of its parts and shines as a dark and comic bit of brainless entertainment.
Is Night Teeth a good film? Not exactly. It is, however, an enjoyable vampiric thrill ride with a quality cast and enough style to eek by on merit. The writing could use a major overhaul in either trimming down the narrative or beefing it up with something more consequential. In the end, it portrays itself as a fun movie meant to be gawked at and put on as trashy entertainment. Sometimes that’s all you need. It may not be the bloody good time everyone is hoping for, but it manages to hypnotize the viewer with enough charm to keep them entertained.
Overall Score? 6.5/10