Night Teeth compiles a talented cast for a vampy Netflix romp that will thrill and surprise those already fluent in vampire cinema. The all-in-one-night logline promises intriguing scripting and compact, intimate characterizations. Personally, the biggest draw for me was this outstanding cast, which includes Debby Ryan, Megan Fox, Sydney Sweeney, Alexander Ludwig, and Alfie Allen. Megan and Sydney filming their scenes in only one day was quite telling—the two of them specifically are little more than cameos. By filling even the smaller roles with recognizable faces, Night Teeth begins to feel like a big-budget theatrical release. Allen gets to play the big villain role, while Love, Simon’s Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is our naive accidental hero.
Benny (Lendeborg Jr.) has been nagging his brother Jay (Raul Castillo) to let him be a driver for months now. Finally, Jay gives in—Benny will be filling in as chauffeur to earn some extra cash. There are a couple caveats to his travels: if anyone asks, “you’re me,” and he must simply transport his passengers to their destination without any questions. Easier said than done when his riders end up being literal bloodsuckers! Blaire (Ryan) is flirtatious and sweet, but Zoe (Lucy Fry) is a dangerous and ruthless killer. The girls want to hit up every single party in town, and that is “non-negotiable.” They grow more drunk and rowdy with every stop. Benny starts to question their motivations when he discovers a huge bag of money in the backseat. Not long after, he makes his way into the building they are at and discovers both women in the midst of devouring ‘a meal’—two douchey men, the owners.
As Benny’s story is forming, the audience is concurrently following the villainous happenings of Victor (Allen). This is where the lore established in the opening few minutes really takes flight. Long ago, a treaty was made between the vampires and the people of Boyle Heights. This means that vamps must stay in the shadows, feed on only those who are willing, and never enter Boyle Heights without permission. Victor wants to systematically destroy any hope of the keeping the peace, utilizing Blaire and Zoe to aide his dastardly mission.
A twisted love story just beneath the surface between Benny and Blaire kept me invested in where the story would take them next as they hit up spots all over Los Angeles. The actors selected all do a terrific job, even for the aforementioned smaller roles. “Do you think that when my pool boy leaves a leaf in the pool that I don’t wanna string him upside down and suck him dry?” asks Megan Fox’s Grace. It may be the kind of witty self-referential dialogue Fox is already used to spewing thanks to her vastly underrated role in 2009’s Jennifer’s Body, but she really sells it either way. As for Victor, only Alfie Allen could spout out a line like this one and still come off cool and collected: “once you’re gone, this city’s just one fat neck waiting to get sucked.”
It certainly will not win awards for originality, but I enjoyed Night Teeth and its revisionist take on the vampire mythology. What is, at its core, one big bloody road trip across L.A. eventually culminates in a thrilling full-circle finale. The gore and special effects work harmoniously—my favorite effect is the gnarly deaths of vampires. Benny may regret accepting his chauffeur job, but a bloodthirsty audience will not regret the time they chose to spend with this unconventional stylistic horror thriller directed by Adam Randall (I See You).
Night Teeth draws blood when it debuts on Netflix on October 20th.