Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person
Ariane Louise-Seize will do just about anything to make us feel entertained in her debut film, vampire comedy-drama Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person. Planned to premiere during this year’s Venice Film Festival, this ingenious work tells the story of a teenage vampire, Sasha, who struggles with choosing her real identity. She is unsure if she really wants to kill people, and her insecurity only infuriates her family, so they decide to cut off her blood supply in the hope that the situation will eventually force her to find her first victims.
Although aesthetically reminding us of The Addams Family and Taika Waititi’s cult film, What We Do in the Shadows, Humanist Vampire takes a slightly different yet noteworthy approach when it comes to vampirism, after all using it as a pretext for examining real-life problems like teenage depression and their lacking understanding where their emotions are concerned. Sasha meets Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard), a young boy who is suicidal and contemplates jumping from a roof. Instead of readily killing him, she decides to give him one more night so he can do everything he has always wanted to. The result is a refreshing take on the coming-of-age movie: without making the story too serious, it acutely encourages the viewer to join further discussions on kids’ mental health.
Sara Montpetit’s portrayal of Sasha brings some alluring mystery, the actor offering a tour de force of the emotional rollercoaster of adolescence; the rising star manoeuvres easily between happiness, infatuation, grief, curiosity and embarrassment. That is not forgetting the rest of the cast, who deliver a fantastic collective performance: Bénard is believable as a completely lost Paul, as are Sasha’s neurotic family in the background, who rather too strongly rely on their species’ traditions.
There is no wonder this narrative can be read not only as a riveting comedy-drama for vampire enthusiasts, but also as a pertinent metaphor for modern society – a defiant and unusual tale about the unequivocal generation gap and conflicting beliefs. It unhurriedly becomes even more compelling through the depiction of its subtle, grotesque romance (underlined by grave humour, which is both deliberately dark and beautiful in its own way). By then, it is undeniably something more than just another vampire-teen-drama. It feels like Louise-Seize understands the genre’s premise, as she aptly blends various cinematic styles, delivers a first-class ending and holds nothing back. Thus, for those prepared to nurture contrasting feelings (laughter and sorrow) equally, Humanist Vampire is a must-watch.
Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Venice Film Festival 2023 coverage here.
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Watch the trailer for Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person here: