Saturday, October 08, 2016

Night People – review

Director: Gerard Lough

Release date: 2015

Contains spoilers

This is a portmanteau film, made on a low budget and set in Ireland. The surround concerns itself about two criminals, the older Mike (Michael Parle) and younger Luke (Jack Dean-Shepherd), breaking into a house – it transpires to commit some arson as an insurance fraud.

Mike’s mate has hacked the nearby cctv systems and has wiped their approach but they must wait an hour before the next hack to leave the scene and thus they wait and Mike encourages some story-telling. If this sounds convoluted, it not only is but the film (at the end) comments on its own convolution.

The two stories (first told by Mike and second told by Luke) due have some impact in the wraparound. It is the second story that interests us.

Claire Blennerhassett as Faustina
Faustina (Claire Blennerhassett) is a fixer, it would seem. Less a pimp, she brings clients of various fetishes together for a price – matching the “dates”. When we meet her she is meeting John (John D. Ruddy) for the first time. She keeps client details on paper – it can be destroyed so much more easily than electronic data – and he is so ashamed of his fetish that he has written it down rather than speaking it aloud (we never discover what it is).

Philip Doherty as Matt
The name Faustina apparently means lucky (and there is a Saint Faustina in Catholic doctrine) but to me it was immediately reminiscent of Faust, however her actions seem to be much more in the mould of Mephistopheles, at least at first. In a club she sees a couple of people she recognises and one of them, Matt (Philip Doherty), later approaches her with a deal. She dislikes Matt, believing he preys on the vulnerable, and indeed he wants use of her apartment (as all his rooms are in use) for a VIP client to use with a young man. When he tells her he can help her find *him* she agrees to his Faustian deal and takes on the title role.

She goes to watch a dance show – which consists of little more than three woman gyrating before a projection. She follows one, named Lilian (Sarah Louise Carney), to a bar and approaches her. She quickly reveals that she knows Lilian is in *his* employ and makes it clear that she wants to become a supplier for him. Lilian guesses Matt has revealed her fealty and suggests that Faustina has to perform three tasks as a test. Faustina reads what she has to do and, at first, refuses. However, she does decide to perform the test and this seems to be drawing blood from three victims. To do this she uses a contraption that seemed insect like in design with the “legs” the needles that extracts the blood.

the device
To be honest it all seems a bit convoluted but you might wonder where the vampire actually comes into this (or is the client just a blood fetishist)? Eventually Lilian reveals that she is (or at least believes herself to be) a vampire. She wonders whether Faustina believes she might becoming one herself (she isn’t but the narrative of the section is not strong enough to properly explore this). All in all, it is the narrative that lets this down.

You see Claire Blennerhassett gives probably the strongest performance of the whole film and yet the section fails to capitalise on this and give her enough to test that strength against. It was the actress that kept me focused on this section as the trial itself seemed just a bit meh plot-wise. You can tell this is filmed on a budget and some of the performances, through the entire piece, are weak. There is a shot, I noticed from my screenshots, that seems reminiscent of a famous Bela Lugosi shot – but that was probably coincidence. The idea behind the first story is more interesting than that of the second. 4 out of 10 is probably mostly down to Blennerhassett’s performance.

The imdb page is here.

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