Reviewed at AFI screening room, L.A., June 26, 1993 (In AFI/L.A. FilmFest). Running time: 77 MIN.
Jake … James Raftery
Angel … John Leguizamo
Frances … Lisa Napoli
Zohra … Karen Wexler
Dario … David Roya
Anne … Ali Thomas
Barfly … Holly Woodlawn
Screamin’ Rachel … Herself
Caroline Munro … Herself
A modern take on the familiar vampire mythology, “Night Owl” is a disappointing horror film that is neither scary nor funny. Amateurish pic will be of interest only to horror completists and avid searchers for new faces on the American indie scene.
Set in New York’s East Village, Jeffrey Arsenault’s tale centers on Jake (James Raftery), an attractive modern-day vampire who targets his female victims in a sleazy neighborhood bar. Film begins rather promisingly with an intense sex scene between Jake and his first victim, Zohra (Karen Wexler).
Following are other murders and a tender romance with Anne (Ali Thomas), a beautiful girl Raftery resists killing. Some tension is injected into the otherwise routine story when Angel (John Leguizamo), Zohra’s brother, decides to look for his missing sister.
Arsenault fails to develop a clear structure to contain his ideas, such as the interesting link they suggest between sex and blood-thirst. Lacking a coherent story, or real characters for that matter, “Night Owl” feels like an exercise in noir style and mood.