"As seen on TV." "Foolproof." "Clean Restrooms." "The funniest movie in decades." Let's face it, there are certain statements or claims that we have learned to distrust. This is usually due to the fact that we've been burned before. For me, a claim that I'm always wary of is "a new twist on the vampire genre". It seems that every vampire movie makes this claim, and yet none deliver on this promise. This latest in this line of teases if Night Junkies.
Night Junkies tells the story of Vincent (Giles Alderson), a vampire who lives in London. Vincent views vampirism as just another addiction, and he keeps to himself, quietly feeding his hunger. One night, he meets a stripper named Ruby (Katia Winter). Ruby hates her life and is constantly infuriating her boss, Max (Jonathan Coyne), because she won't have sex with the customers. Vincent is immediately attracted to Ruby, and after a night of passionate lovemaking, he loses control and bites her. Ruby is horrified by this and soon finds herself changing. She returns to Vincent and surrenders to him. They decide that they want to try and have as normal a relationship as possible, but a long-time admirer of Ruby (Rene Zagger) has other plans for the couple. Soon, Vincent and Ruby learn that they aren't the most dangerous creatures of the night and that they will have to fight to earn the normal lives which they crave.
Stop me if you've heard this one; Night Junkies is about a lonely, brooding vampire who meets a normal human and falls in love. These feelings create a great deal of angst and he tortures himself over the need to be with this woman. When she becomes a vampire, they learn the ups and downs of true love. Oh wait, that sounds like almost every vampire movie made over the last decade. And thus, we see that nothing original is happening in this movie. When Anne Rice humanized vampires with her Vampire Chronicles books, she unleashed a generation of goths who don't want to see vampires portrayed as monsters, but as romantic creatures who want both blood and true love, and Night Junkies plays right into that genre. Vincent, the brooding pretty boy, is the perfect man to save the voluptuous Ruby, and then they can be the perfect vampire couple.
The lack of originality in the plot of Night Junkies wouldn't be so bad if the movie had anything else new to say. Unfortunately, nearly every move in the movie is telegraphed. The only real surprise is the arrival of the villain, although I probably would have noticed this if I weren't so busy being dumbfounded by the pedestrian nature of the movie. From the environment of the strip club to the way Vincent sires Ruby to Vincent's emotional voice-overs, the film is filled with cliches. This should make the characters more familiar, but instead they come across as annoying stereotypes. The movie offers no suspense, and very little emotion. There is some violence, but that's never the focus of this talky film. Director Lawrence Pearce has given the film a nice look, as the streets of London are both dark and colorful, but we're always brought back to the drab story.
Night Junkies looks for a fix on DVD courtesy of Allumination Filmworks. The movie has been letterboxed at 1.85:1, but the transfer is not 16 x 9. The image looks OK, but it is noticeably dark. The colors which show through the darkness look good, especially the reds. The image shows no distracting grain, but there is a notable amount of artifacting and video noise. Overall, this is a mediocre transfer at best.
The Night Junkies DVD offers a Dolby digital stereo audio track. This track has one of the most wildly unbalanced dynamic ranges that I've heard in a while. It's almost as if every actor decided to whisper their lines, while all of the sound effects were recorded as loudly as possible. I found myself actually rewinding at times in order to figure out what someone had said, whilst preparing myself for the deafening barrage of music from the strip club.
The only extra on the DVD is a trailer for Night Junkies.
Vampire movies never have been my favorite genre, but as I love horror, I'm always willing to give them a try. But, I have little patience for romanticized vampire movies -- I want the monsters to be monsters. Having said that, I wouldn't have minded Night Junkies if I didn't feel that I'd seen it all before. Any true vampire movie fan will dismiss this film immediately as a rip-off of many other movies.