Night Kaleidoscope is a bizarre, psychedelic, artistic take on vampires, with an unusual detective story mixed in.
Night Kaleidoscope is a film that does not rely on narrative to drive it. There is a plot, but it seems overshadowed by the desire of the filmmakers to make the viewer feel as if they’re watching through a drug induced haze. The story follows Fion (Patrick O’Brien), who is a psychic detective that is losing his abilities. He is approached by the police, following a string of grisly murders, in hopes that he can solve them using his gifts. He accepts the case, but knows that his powers aren’t strong enough on their own and will need to be augmented… with lots and lots of drugs. Once he gets his fix, he is able to determine that a vampire couple (played by Kitty Colquhoun and Gareth Morison) have moved into town and are preying on people in the city. As the story progresses, Fion recruits a woman named Isobel (Mariel McAllan) to join his cause, as her boyfriend was recently massacred by the vampires.
Speaking of the vampires, they are a more unassuming variation of the creatures than we typically see nowadays. They approach their victims and use a sort of hypnotism or glamour on them to lure them away from prying eyes, and then they murder them with a strange ornamental dagger by slicing their wrists and throat. Once the victim is cut, there is always another trippy scene with the couple drinking the blood, tearing the flesh with their teeth and sometimes doing a sort of odd dance while smearing blood everywhere. Some of the murder scenes are pretty horrific to watch, but a few do fall flat. I don’t believe the dagger adds much to common vampire mythos.
To be honest, I’m really not certain about anything that happened in the film or even how it ended. That’s what happens when you get a new three-minute-long psychedelic montage anytime someone says fifteen words of dialogue. I should make it clear that I’m not complaining, I think that was the actual intent of the filmmakers. The montages are vibrant and full of color, strange imagery, and for lack of a better descriptor – a kaleidoscope effect. They’re supplemented by 80’s synth rock, and pulsating waves of various loud noises. All in all, the imagery and sounds combine to achieve a state that certainly feels drug-induced, and the director (Grant McPhee) really succeeds there.