Children of the Night (Limbo, 2013)
Children of the Night is a film that offers a fairly different take on the vampire lore, and seems just as interested in using the guise of the vampire tale to make societal commentaries as it is in twisting the tropes of the genre.
It kicks off with Alicia (Sabrina Ramos) being contacted at her newspaper about doing a profile on Limbo, which claims it is a group home for children with a rare disease. As Alicia arrives and starts talking to Erda (Ana Maria Giunta) the true vampiric nature of these inhabitants starts to make itself known, as well as why she was really asked to come.
The English title play off a famous quote from Dracula, and it’s not entirely unfitting. It allows the audience to some extent understand what the film will be about as well as disambiguating it from other films also entitled Limbo.There are also allusions to Dracula herein so that makes it even less of a stretch.
It’s nearly inevitable now that when you hear of a tale of vampires who are children you will invariably think of Let the Right One In, or the Amerian remake Let Me In. This film is neither of those films and it’s not really trying to be. Aside from the mystery portion of the tale, which is not that long, it’s not playing things entirely straight. There is much dark humor to be found and it’s much appreciated.
Also allowing the film stand out is that it combines story elements interestingly. There is a compulsory vampire hunter angle thrown into the mix, which allows some of the expected viscera and action sequences. However, much of the intrigue in this film are about interpersonal relationships, and the suspense elements are from learning new bits of information.
If you’re one who’s over-concerned with budget allow me to assuage your fears: yes, this is quite a microbudget film. However, the film nevr puts itself in situations where that becomes apparent or a detriment. in fact, there are instances where its refreshing to see something actually being done, instead of virtually occurring with the aid of CG. The film gets quite ingenius about it as well.
The locations, the way its shot, and the uniquely indigenuous and entrancing score crafted by writer/director Iván Noel help to create a very unique atmosphere. The two leads newcomer Ramos and renowned veteran Giunta are positively captivating in their scenes in tandem. They are buoyed by two fairly strong debut turns among the young cast by Lauro Veron and Toto Muñoz. The latter especially as he is our introduction to this world, and has some of the longest, soul-searching scenes within.
Children of the Night is not a run-of-the-mill vampire tale. However, with the most recent surge in popularity of the vampire over (due mostly to an over-abundance of cynical, subpar, dime-a-dozen, mass-produced junk) the thoughtful well-rendered tale with laughs and gore within should still find an audience.
It’s always interesting to see making-of featurettes. In this case it is especially intriguign to see some of the restraints they faced. You also see some footage from preproduction through to the making of the film, along with theatre games to get the kids warmed up. There are some English titles to give one a sense of information though I will warn viewers: my Spanish is pretty good so I got everything I could out of the featurette. Some may not.
If some parts of the feturette leave you wanting the director’s commentary will help. Noel discusses the makign of throughout, all in perfectly enunciated English, and gives you soem great insights. While on occasion there’s some overload for those not as interested in the technical or textual aspects, he does counterbalance that by not talking the entire time and letting some scenes play out.
Children of the Night is available today on digital platforms, DVD, and Blu-ray.
It runs 105 minutes, with dialogue in Spanish subtitled in English.