DECEMBER 1, 2010
I can only assume that Night Junkies is one of the many movies in my collection that Mr. Disgusting gave to me to use for a DVD giveaway at one of our screenings and I just kept it for myself. Well, to whoever would have won it – I’m sorry I kept you from winning a free DVD. But if you’re like me, and have already seen enough vampire-as-addiction movies to last a lifetime, you aren’t missing much.
While not the worst film I’ve seen this week (hello there, The Evictors), Night Junkies doesn’t really offer anything that we haven’t seen in Habit or The Thirst (and presumably The Addiction, which I haven’t seen yet and probably won’t for a while). All those movies really had going for them was the fact that they were alternatives to the Lost Boys or Interview With A Vampire type takes on the vampire mythos. But “alternative” doesn’t apply when you’ve seen it all before in other “alternative” movies – it’s a copy of something unique.
I’m also baffled why Allumination or whoever designed the DVD case seems to think first time writer/director Lawrence Pearce is the 2nd coming, putting his name above the title and referring to him as a “visionary”. Sure, he’s made a decent film for a first timer, but visionary seems a bit too strong of a word to describe a guy who made a film that’s not particularly visually interesting and is a copy (intentional or not) of at least three previous movies.
Worse, he seems to be a “student” of Tarantino, which drove me up the wall enough in the 1990s, but now just seems downright silly. Not only does he copy dialogue directly from Pulp Fiction (a girl flirting with a guy asks him if he listens or waits to talk, same as Uma asked Travolta, in a scene ironically deleted (but widely seen) because Tarantino thought it was cliché). Later, the guy, now in a relationship with the girl, goes to see her pimp and ends up killing him, but leaves his address behind. Sound familiar? And before they fight, the guy tells him some ridiculous anecdote from history, also copied from True Romance (albeit a different scene).
It’s also structured a bit awkwardly, with a serial killer plot that only makes fleeting appearances in the first hour or so of the film, but takes complete center stage for the 3rd act. Suddenly our two main characters are on the sidelines and we’re following this killer guy around, even though there’s no real mystery to his identity or any major back-story to fill in. You can switch perspective in a movie successfully (see: Psycho), but you have to make it just as if not MORE compelling than the original character (and actually killing them is a better way to do it, instead of just seemingly forgetting about them for a while like Pearce does here).
And the dialogue! My god. In addition to the Tarantino nonsense, Pearce actually cribs lines from fucking Crash, of all things. Our hero vampires are about to feed on a woman who is sitting outside her husband’s office while he cheats on her, and she, apropros of nothing, suddenly says that she “just wants to FEEL something!”, but alas she is not in Los Angeles so she cannot just crash into someone to do it. Plus, our hero (the guy from David O’Reilly! Weird.) occasionally narrates in Film School Pretension 101 drivel like “It is essentially human to be addicts. My addiction... it is what it is.” OK. There’s also a baffling conversation where the newly formed vampire asks about what the “rules” are, asking if garlic hurts (no) or sunlight (yes), because she’s sort of in disbelief about the whole thing. Then she asks, “Stake through the heart?” Um, wouldn’t that kill you even if you were still a human? When I stab someone in the heart with a stake, vampire or not, they die.
The DVD doesn’t exactly help the film any, either, with a horrid non-anamorphic transfer that looks lo-res to boot. There’s also a strange artifacting at times that causes everything to “ghost”, so you see a faint double of the frame, shifted about ¼ of the screen to the right. And their opening title designer should be banned from the industry for his font choice, which is borderline unreadable (made worse by the DVD’s poor transfer). If I’ve said it once I’ve said it 39 times – if you’re going to put your movie out there for the same cost as everything else (actually more - it retails for a whopping 26.99! I can get all three Matrix movies for less than that!), then you need to present it as professionally as possible. No excuse in this age to have a non-anamorphic video, or such a lo-res transfer (even if the camera that it was shot on was standard def, it could look a hell of a lot better than this). Especially if you’re going to be ripping off a Tony Scott movie, I mean, come ON! “Wait so they’re copying a scene from True Romance, but making it look like shit? I don’t get it.” Neither do I, theoretical person besides me watching this movie.
What say you?