Review: NOCTURNA

nocVampires are a hot commodity within the young adult demographic, thanks to the huge success of TWILIGHT and THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. They often use a romanticized image of the mythology and create a world where doomed lovers must fight against the odds, but love is stronger than any force. Not sure how well that goes over with hardcore horror fans, but it’s definitely appealing to a mass audience which is why different incarnations keep being made and really want to be that next big franchise. Fortunately, NOCTURNA doesn’t dwell too much on the romantic aspect, playing more on a thriller genre than anything. Unfortunately though, the movie doesn’t deliver too many thrills.

Two good looking detectives investigate a murder scene coming across a little girl with a symbol familiar to Harry (Mike Doyle), our veteran cop who seems to know more than he allows to let his partner know. Harry prefers to let the supposedly the lost girl walk home on her own but his sympathetic partner, Roy (Danny Agha) walks her back to what turns out to be a vampire lair. The vampires, in return for his life, offer a proposition that he refuses, but is able to escape.

This leads to a vampire attack at a hospital where Roy and Harry escape once again and, even though they were about to get butchered, decide to take up the vampire offer: the detectives will be protected by them if they can find another vampire clan so they can kill them. They learn how vampire blood can be used to cure human wounds and the many benefits that come with taking a drop of it. Be careful, though, because, as one of the vampires warns, humans are capable of overdosing on it.

The vampires in NOCTURNA are mischievous and sexy and can hypnotize humans into doing whatever they desire. With a movie like this, I was surprised by how little sex and blood was featured in it. Not to say those things make a good movie, but it would at least help hold a viewer’s attention when watching a thin plot and one dimensional characters.  I had a hard time deciphering if Johnathon Schaech was really bored playing vampire Brisbane or if Brisbane is just really bored when he talks. Estella Warren, on the other hand, seems to really enjoy herself playing the flirtatious Belinda. Doyle is comfortable at the experienced detective, clearly haunted by all the crimes he’s investigated and holds an annoyed big brother attitude with Roy. Agha seems right at home as Roy, who holds a naive sensibility that makes you wonder how in the world did he decide to get involved in law enforcement. He very much wants to make the moral decisions , but has difficulty understanding moral decisions and the right decisions don’t always go hand in hand. These two made be straight out of a standard rule book of how to pair two polar opposites, but at least it somewhat works here. NOCTURNA isn’t for everyone, but you love hot cops and vampires clad in black in 90 minutes, check it out.