Written by: Lawrence Pearce
Starring: Giles Alderson (A Dying Breed), Katia Winter (The Seer), René Zagger(“Dr. Who,” “Rome”), Johnathan Coyne (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life)
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Ruby (Winter) is a stripper working for a sleazy club owner by the name of Maxi (Coyne). Vincent (Alderson) is a depressed and lonely vampire who spends his nights calling phone sex lines just so he can have a nice chat with the girls, or killing people to feed his addiction for human blood. One night, these two wacky kids bump into each other in a coffee shop, and Vincent, smooth-tongued devil that he is, manages to convince Ruby to come back to his place and spend the night with him. In a fit of passion, Vincent bites Ruby, instantly turning her into a filthy, sweat-soaked, blood-addicted vampire junky. Though Ruby tries her best to fight it, she soon finds herself locked in the throes of addiction, and is soon joining her new boyfriend on his late night feeding sessions. Disgusted with her new lifestyle, Ruby does some digging, and discovers evidence of a woman who has discovered a cure for their condition. Vincent agrees to go with her and undergo the treatment, but before they go, he sneaks out to get one last hit. Meanwhile, Maxi dispatches Matt (Zagger) to collect Ruby, and bring her back to the strip club. Now, it’s a race against time (a very slow, very boring race) as Ruby and Vincent find themselves forced to stay one step ahead of Matt on their quest for the cure.
It’s nice to see that the lips from Rocky Horror Picture Show
continue to get work, despite their advanced age.
There is nothing to recommend about Night Junkies, because the film pretty much has nothing going for it. It’s an interminably dull affair, filled with lifeless direction, one-note characters, a blandly unoriginal story, and acting that ranges from mediocre to downright terrible. If the film feels wholly derivative, that’s because it is. While I’m sure he would prefer to call it an homage, director Lawrence Pearce outright rips off a number of different sources, and Night Junkies plays like little more than a melange of elements taken almost wholesale from films such as Trainspotting, Near Dark, The Addiction, True Romance, and even Requiem for a Dream (the famous “snore-cam” stuff, specifically). In more capable hands, this pastiche might work, and add up to something interesting. Unfortunately, Pearce barely has a fraction of the talent or style possessed by the directors he is aping, so what we’re left with is a dourly serious, incompetently made film that may as well have been called “Veinspotting,” for all the originality on display. Of course, that would imply some sort of ingenuity or wit on Pearce’s part, and if Night Junkies is any indication, the man possesses neither quality.
It’s obvious that Pearce tried to add a sense of visual flair to the film, but due to a lack of budget or talent (or both), he doesn’t quite pull it off. The film is flat, ugly, and visually uninteresting, and it never really manages to engage the viewer on any level. When combined with the fact barely sketched out characters, the viewer is kept at arm’s length, and it is nearly impossible to become invested in the film as a whole. It doesn’t help that the film meanders at a snail’s pace from one scene to the next, robbing the proceedings of any sense of urgency. This deliberate pace probably wouldn’t even deserve a mention, were it not for the fact that the film makes a point of constantly reminding the viewer that Ruby and Vincent are desperate to find a cure for their affliction, not to mention their constant need to feed their insatiable hunger. By the half hour mark, I had just stopped caring about the characters and their plight, and I found myself constantly checking the timer on my DVD player, almost willing it to reach the 1 hour 38 minutes, just so I would be spared spending another long minute with this intensely boring film.
Fun fact! My grandma’s leg was used as a stand in for the
character’s arm in this scene. I’m so proud!
Giles Anderson delivers an incredibly low-key performance as the vampire Vincent, so much so that his presence barely registers. This wouldn’t be that big a problem if he weren’t the romantic lead in the film, but since he is, it becomes something of an issue. He mumbles every single one of his lines in a comatose manner, and manages to cycle through two whole facial expressions during the course of the film. He’s a complete dead spot in the film, and as such it’s very difficult for the viewer to get invested in his plight.
On the other end of the spectrum is René Zagger as the villainous Matt. Zagger plays his role so completely over the top that you almost lose sight of him (at times, I almost wish I had…oh snap!) It’s a performance that is so completely awful, it leads one to wonder if Pearce was even on set those days, as no director in his right mind could have witnessed that and thought it was good acting.
Finally, Katia Winter does her best, but she’s mostly saddled with a thankless role. Her character spends the entire film struggling with her newly acquired addiction, which means she spends the majority of the film sprawled across her bed, breathing heavily while covered in a cold sweat. She really doesn’t have much to do beyond that, so it’s a little difficult to gauge her abilities. As her character is so thinly defined, it’s also difficult to feel anything for her, which is a shame as she’s meant to serve as the emotional core of the film.
Bryan Singer has apparently had a tough time getting over
the failure of Superman, if this shot from his upcoming
adaptation of “Lolita” is any indication.
Night Junkies probably would have worked much better as a half hour short film. At 98 minutes, however, the thin premise is stretched out well past its welcome, and the film becomes an absolute chore to sit through, so much so that the viewer will likely lose interest in the film well before the half way point.
THE SIGHT AND SOUND
The picture is a bit murky, but not terribly so. The night scenes can get a bit dark at times, but you can still make out what is going on, so it’s not that big of a problem. The film is presented in widescreen format, though I couldn’t tell you what the aspect ratio is, as there aren’t any technical specs on the disc case.
Same goes for the sound. There’s no technical spec listed, but it’s a decent mix, if a little quiet at times. Of course, that might be due to the extremely understated way all the performers deliver their lines, but I kind of doubt it.
It’s nice to see that the cover art for the upcoming direct-to-video
sequel to Children of Men starring Peter Weller will
retain the look of the original.
Nada, zip, and zilch; that’s what you get as far as extras go. To be fair, you can watch the film’s original theatrical trailer, along with previews for Naina, Cookers, Night Feeders, and Anonymous Rex (none of which look very good), but those can’t even be considered special features at this point. Still, the lack of features works in this film’s favor, as I wouldn’t recommend spending any more time with it than necessary (which would be no time at all).
There’s really nothing to see here. Move along.