The Night Seekers is one of those movies that’s so spectacularly bad, I’d need to review the script word by word to even come close to conveying its awfulness. It’s so fundamentally flawed, it operates on a different plane of existence. It’s hard to even know what to make of it — like finding a puppy listed on Tinder. It’s just wrong. It’s so inept as a movie, it has to be considered something else — most likely a felony of some sort.
Note: I’m not going to paste a spoiler warning, because this movie is already very spoiled.
The anemic plot goes something like this: four couples (one black, one white, one Latino and one Asian — overly calculated casting, to be sure, but by far the least troublesome element in the film) decide their annual group vacation destination should be somewhere called Astro Island — which, through a series of painful itinerary discussions, appears to be a separate country outside the US. Why writer-director Menetie T. Ejeye couldn’t just choose a real country (or at least come up with a less goofy name) is one of the many mysteries of The Night Seekers. You’ve just been Ejeyed!
They stay on the outskirts of Astro City at the house of a weird old lady (presumably because they waited to choose a destination until two weeks before the trip) who warns them not to venture beyond a particular sign. Of course, their local tour guide, Roberta (Adriana Sheri), immediately takes them beyond that sign. Even though the group has said all along they want to go to the city, they’re suddenly fine with going into the boonies, with only black girl Tania (Shah Granville) balking at crossing into the forbidden zone.
Somehow, they drive around THE ENTIRE DAY without getting anywhere (How big is this island???), and Roberta, AKA the Worst Tour Guide in the World, points out a random cabin (i.e., a still photo of the exterior of a cabin) where they break and enter in order to spend the night. Their night in this supposedly “creepy as hell” cabin (actually a nice, clean, modern house) consists of them…eating dinner.
The next morning, they head off again, but two hours later (we know this because Ejeye adds a title card that says “Two hours later”), they arrive back at the same cabin. Confused, they presumably drive off and end up back at the same place 30 minutes later. I say “presumably” because we never see them drive off. The movie just cuts from them standing in front of the house to a title card saying “Thirty minutes later” back to them standing in front of the house again.
Second night in the “creepy” house: NOTHING HAPPENS. They wake up the next day, talk about how they’re running low on gas, and the next thing you know, it’s NIGHT AGAIN. I swear, half of this movie is comprised of them finding places to spend the night.
Finally, on the third night, the “creatures” — really, just a few brutes in jumpsuits with bad acne who are, for some reason, all black — show up and begin eating people…or rather, smearing fake intestines on people’s stomachs. Somehow, the group assumes they’ll be safe if they hide until sunrise, and since the movie is called The Night Seekers, they turn out to be right.
Having run out of gas, they set off on foot — supposedly in the middle of nowhere, although at one point, they’re clearly on a sidewalk beside nicely manicured hedges. HEY LOOK, IT’S NIGHTTIME! They camp in a “cave” that’s clearly a concrete overpass. They wake up, reunite after being split up and then…GO BACK TO SLEEP? OH MY GOD, IT’S NIGHT AGAIN. JESUS, TAKE THE WHEEL.
OK, I can’t relive this any longer. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of sleeping going on in The Night Seekers, and not just from the audience. One character, Jonathan (Nathan Truong), even has narcolepsy, so he falls asleep in practically every scene he’s in. That’s the level of development Ejeye provides in his writing; characters are defined solely on one trait. Jonathan falls asleep, Cynthia (Bella Favela) is jealous and Manny (Ejeye himself) makes jokes. That’s all. And by “jokes,” I mean yelling things like, “You SUCK!” at his friends with a cheese-eating grin.
Any rational person would find Manny an asshole, but in Ejeye’s world, normal human nature doesn’t apply. Anyone delusional enough to proudly slap his name on something as shoddy as this doesn’t have a firm grasp on reality. He reminds me of Birdemic‘s James Nguyen, but unlike Nguyen, he’s delusional enough to cast himself as a lead, unaware of how irritating his incessant mugging and overacting is.
Still, it’s actually sort of admirable that, with more than a half-dozen films under his belt (shudder), he’s managed to carve a career for himself in film with no creative talent whatsoever. And really, it’s better for him if his movies are this bad. He’s more likely to get attention for this treasure trove of incompetence than he would if his work was merely so-so.
And believe me, saying “incompetence” is merely scratching the surface of The Night Seekers. Night scenes shot in daytime, choppy editing begins scenes in the middle of conversations and ends scenes with five seconds of awkward silence, murky lighting obscures what little action there is, there’s wildly uneven sound and bad camerawork (I swear, in one scene, the operator just dropped the camera accidentally, and they kept it in the final cut), plus terrible acting, spouting lines no human would ever recite (like “There’s a human creature out there!” and “Without food, we’ll be weaker!”) and pointless scenes like waiting for people to arrive — and yet no scenes that even try to explain what the “night seekers” are (basically, lazy vampires) or how they came to be. Even the credits are poorly done, crawling along at a snail’s pace (I suppose because there’s so little crew, or at least so few people willing to attach their names to this movie).
The Night Seekers is a few crappy CGI birds away from Birdemic, which actually isn’t the worst thing in the world. Well, it is, but in a “so bad it’s good” sort of way.
I just saw this yesterday… the script was like something written by a six-year-old. We get priceless dialogue like, “I’ve lived here all my life and it is not dangerous and very OK!” Nice. As the reviewer notes, there are endless scenes of going to bed: “We’ll crash here and figure things out in the morning.” This happens something like eight times – no joke. My favorite part was when the characters wait silently for another person to arrive. Now that’s something you don’t see outside of Tarkovsky, maybe. The reviewer’s comparison to Birdemic is on the money. Interestingly, I thought most of the actors did pretty well with the material, and I don’t recall any swearing, which I really appreciated. So, thanks for that, Mr. Ejeye.
Actually, I am curious, who was the final girl? Was this another “The Rage” situation where the token white couple live or did this film at least have one of the non-white girls live? Speaking of this films female characters, instead of listing the actresses real names on the cover, it lists their characters name. That’s about as on par as listing yourself as “Alan Smithee”.
The black couple live to the end, which is good in that the black people live, but bad in that we have to put up with writer-director-star Ejeye throughout the entire film. That’s hilarious about the character names being listed on the cover art; I never even noticed that! Boy, that’s the icing on this rotten cake.