“German vampires – but the polar opposite of Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu.”
Lena (Herfurth) lives on the edge of society: stealing from other criminals, and running from the cops. But her life changes forever, when she comes to the attentions of Louise (Hoss), a rich socialite, who runs with her pack of friends. Louise is actually a centuries-old vampire, who sees something in Lena’s eyes, something for which Louise has been searching for many decades. She bites Lena, and her transformation into a creature of the night begins. It’s not without its issues: to force Lena to come to terms with her new-found strength and speed, she is handed over to a pimp, a scenario which turns into a blood-bath. While Lena does adapt, the police investigate the killings and Tom (Riemelt), who knew Lena from her street days, realizes there’s a connection between her and what happened.
While there’s precious little new here, in terms of content, it’s really a film where the style is probably more important, and the makers nail this impeccably. It’s a glossy, shiny movie, set in a world that looks like a car advert [and, as an aside, there are some very nice cars here!], where the streets are perpetually wet and the only light is neon, with a perpetually thumping techno beat as the soundtrack. Of course, your mileage may vary as to how that translates into a cinematic experience, but I loved the attitude on view, despite the short attention span and focus on distracting the viewer with shiny, pretty baub… Ooh! Sparkly things! Sorry, where was I?
It’s the moments that you’ll remember: Lena’s bath-tub transformation with her old life literally melting off her, or the restaurant scene where one of the immortals proves exactly how hard-core a smoker she is, by stubbing a cigarette out in her eye. And the radical feminist philosophy is engagingly confident, espoused here as, “We eat, drink, sniff coke, and fuck as much as we like. But we never get fat, pregnant, or hooked.” Louise helped kill off the male vampires because they were a waste of undeath, and has deliberately avoided turning men since. It is, if you like, a distaff version of The Lost Boys, crossed with Daughters of Darkness, with some fine action set-pieces thrown in, that I wish they’d extended a bit. When you contrast this with lame vampire updatings like T*w*l*ght, there’s no doubt which is superior.
Dir: Dennis Gansel
Star: Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss, Jennifer Ulrich, Max Riemelt