Review by Mike Finkelstein
How bad is too bad? I've watched a number of terrible movies for this site (as it devours anything and everything vampire related), but I always assumed there was a bar for how bad something could be before I gave up and refused to watch it. So far I haven't actually managed to find that low bar threshold just yet, but the Brutal Bloodsuckers film set is certainly testing my patience. Films can be bad, but endearing in one way or another. Not these six films, though, as each of them are terrible is a general, "did I really just sit through that?" way.
For those unfamiliar, Brutal Bloodsuckers is a low-budget, six film set that you can find Online (or at DVD resale shops as someone picked it up elsewhere, tried to watch anything on the set, and then got rid of it as fast as possible). It's not good. In fact, "not good" is still doing too much heavy lifting for the films on this set. "Stupendously wretched" might still be underselling it. Whatever you think is the minimum required standard for a production to reach for call their end product a "movie", the six films on this set produced by Pendulum Productions all fail to rise to that minimum. They make home movies of kids playing in yards look positively professional by comparison.
Night is the second film (in order) on the set. It's not related in any way to the first film, Vampire Sisters, and there is no actual continuity between these productions (and, thus, no justification for putting all six films together except, "I guess they all feature vampire"). I legitimately thought Vampire Sisters would be the worst film on the set dimply by grace of how bad it was, but looking at reviews of the set after watching that film, I discovered that people though it was "the one good movie" in Brutal Bloodsuckers. That should tell you what fresh hell we're in for now.
The movie focuses on Mike Jericho (John Hardy), a cop investigating a robbery crime scene. There's a dead body and a bunch of witnesses, but Jericho only has eyes for one woman: Tonia (Melanie Ginnett). She captures his attention and, even after the crime scene is closed, he can't get her out of his thoughts. Tonia, too, is transfixed. She tried to do her vampire hypnosis trick (which really just looked like she stared at him while constipated), but for the first time her powers didn't work. Mike resisted, and now Tonia wants to know why?
Well, no, actually, Tonia just changes Mike into vampire without trying to figure anything out. It's much easier that way. She takes her newly converted vampire boyfriend to her coven introducing him around, showing him the ropes. Soon, Mike is a practiced killer, feeling above humanity and no longer a part of it. But there is one person still connected to Mike: his partner on the force, Jimi Cannon (Shawn LeTang). Jimi loves Mike like a brother and, when Mike goes missing, does everything he can to find him. And once Jimi finds out that Mike is a vampire, he starts plotting a way to eliminate the coven and free Mike from his eternal existence.
Generally I try to credit a film for the things it does well. The problem with the movies on the Brutal Bloodsuckers set is that none of them do anything well. They're all laughably bad, poorly made in all the ways that anyone with half a brain, and access to Adobe Premiere of Final Cut Pro, would have easily been able to correct with five minutes effort. Someone cared enough to make these movies but, and this can't be stressed enough, they didn't care about making them good in any way, shape, or form.
In the case of Night, the problems begin right from the outset. First, the film quality is terrible. This looks like a movie filmed on cartridge cassettes fed into a camcorder made in the 1980s. It's grainy to the point of being hard to watch. There are plenty of scenes where you can't make out exactly what's going on because they've filmed on a dark set and the film grain obscures it all. Proper lighting, and a better camera, were needed to make this film even passable watchable.
Worse is the sound design, or really the lack thereof. From the very beginning there's a dull buzz underlying the film. It's especially bad in the outdoor scenes, where the team clearly didn't have the right microphones to record audio on set. They should have done ADR after the fact, or found some way to reduce the buzz and clean up the audio tracks, but they didn't. This is the pure audio recorded on set, and that's that. Thus we have a film that both sounds bad and is hard to look at. Night is a real winner.
If somehow you can get past that, you still have to suffer through some of the worst acting you'll ever see. I dinged Vampire Sisters for its bad acting, but I actually have to credit that film: the actresses there were too good to star in Night. The acting here is so bad. It's stilted, with mumbled line readings that sound like they came from people just arriving on Earth, having to say their line phonetically. What never actually happens is real acting. It's just so painful.
And then there's the action, which is just so much worse than the acting. The team, of course, didn't have money for proper stunts or effects, so most of the action work is done via cuts. A guy kicks, and then cut to the body falling over. A guy shoots a gun, and then we look at a body with a bullet wound (bought from a Halloween supply shop) on it. If that wasn't bad enough, none of the vampires seem to understand how guns work. It's known that if they take enough damage they will fall into a coma until they heal, and yet the vampires consistently laugh at guns and let themselves get shot over and over again. Apparently being a vampire means being incredibly stupid at all times.
I want to try and say, "hey, I get it, making a movie is hard. You have to try, and fail, before you make something good." That is all true, for sure, but when you make something this bad you don't release it. You don't put it out there for people to see. You hide that shame. Night is a shame that should have remained hidden, but it didn't. I suffered through it but, please, don't make my mistake.