Eye For Film >> Movies >> Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person (2023) Film Review
Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
The simple but enjoyable set up for Ariane Louis-Seize’s comedy coming-of-age film asks what happens to vampires when they think that killing for blood sucks? That’s the predicament teeanger - at least in vampire years - Sasha (Sara Montpetit) finds herself in. A brief prologue involving a birthday clown shows us this has been an issue for Sasha since she was a kid, just as well then that the rest of the family are good at the hunt.
The thought of hurting humans holds such horror for Sasha that her fangs haven’t even grown in and Louis-Seize plays this for gentle coming-of-age laughs as we see and hear her noisily sucking on bags of blood as though they were slurpies. Louis Seize and her co-writer Christine Doyon play around with teenage/parent comedy in general with a decent hit rate, not least when, in a cry of frustration that will strike a chord with many parents, Sasha's mum declares: “We’re not helping her by letting her empty the fridge!”
Things take a turn when, on a nightly wander, Sasha’s path crosses that of Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard) who looks as though he is about to jump off a roof. He’s a human teenager who is seriously considering ending it all because of the barrage of bullying he faces both at school and his night job at the local bowling alley. Sasha, who has also been vaguely contemplating suicide by eating human food, is attracted to him and, it soon turns out she may have found an unexpectedly willing victim.
Louis-Seize treats all this in sweet-natured fashion as Sasha and Paul begin to grow closer just as Sasha’s family send her to live with her cousin Denise (Noémie O'Farrell), who is a man eater in more ways than one. There’s a deliberate touch of the nouvelle vague to Sasha, with her emo teen look and who likes nothing more than to listen to old Brenda Lee LPs. Her vibe works in an enjoyably absurd contrast to Bénard, whose dead pan, innocent performance as Paul recalls the naive earnestness of Ardal O’Hanlon’s Father Dougal.
While Louis-Seize’s treatment of the night is atmospheric, the emphasis here is firmly on comedy rather on gore. She mines the genre for its tropes rather than its killings, so it’s to be hoped it doesn’t get wrongly sold to horror fans. There’s also one or two plot contrivances, not least an odd encounter with a bat, but comedy has always been a genre that lends itself to a spot of light cheating, so long as the punchlines hit, which they mostly do here.
As Sasha steels herself to kill Paul the pair embark on a night of intended vengeance that doesn’t go exactly to plan and while the trajectory may be obvious, Louis-Seize shows plenty of inventiveness along the way. Rather than violence, the thrills here are generally of a much gentler nature surrounding loneliness and a longing for connection, not a new thing for vampire films, but handled with a full-blooded warmth that is hard to resist.Reviewed on: 10 Sep 2023
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