Imagine having an addiction you can’t control, only try to hide. Now imagine that instead of discarding the needles, you have to get rid of the bodies.
Ruby (Katia Winter) is a London nightclub stripper being pushed into prostitution. The men who took her in after her father died of an overdose consider her a long-term investment who just needs a push in the wrong direction to bring in the cash. Then Ruby meets Vincent (Giles Alderson), a handsome man with a secret addiction… to blood. By the time Ruby realizes what she’s caught up in, she, too, begins to yearn for her next fix while enduring the nightmares that follow. Is it all real, that the need for blood can’t be denied, or is there an escape for both she and Vincent before it’s too late?
Most vampire stories these days either wrap up themselves in making fun of the genre while happily wallowing in it (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) or go over the edge into a global conspiracy wrapped in super-science and technology (Blade, Underworld). Night Junkies takes an almost classical approach, neither poking fun at it nor explaining it away. Instead, the story likens vampirism to drug addicts looking for a fix and a metaphysical question of mind over body. To paraphrase the movie itself, you can forget about sleeping, eating, or having sex until the next time you’re tired, hungry, or horny, but after a junkie gets his fix, he’s already planning how he’s going to get the next one.
Working with a small cast and budget, the film doesn’t try to look bigger than it needs to. This is an intimate film about two people growing closer together while trying to survive in spite of their circumstances and the despicable people around them. The main characters are amazingly beautiful and convincing enough that you can’t help but feel something for them, but neither would you want to meet either of them when they’re on the hunt. No morphing or special effects here, just needfully addicted people who become very dangerous when they can’t get what they want.
The film wastes no time presenting and executing its concept, which could even make a great pilot for a series on a pay-cable television network like Showtime or HBO. There are no grand conspiracies, no secret societies, and no “blood bank” short cuts for these characters. They live on the streets and in the dark because that’s how they survive, on the fringe of society cast aside because the people there won’t or can’t help themselves. Sexy, bloody, and disturbing, this decidedly unglamorous view of vampirism is a refreshing spin on a classic idea.
(a three skull recommendation out of four)