Thursday, February 1, 2018

Vampires are back -- and LIVING AMONG US -- in Brian A. Metcalf's new mockumentary

Don't even for a moment think of comparing LIVING AMONG US -- the new film that attempts to offer a faux documentary look at the home of a family of vampires in Los Angeles, once the bloodsuckers have been "outed" via their connection to and use of a local blood bank -- with that great New Zealand mockumentary from 2015, What We Do in the Shadows, which remains one of the best, as well as the funniest, vampire films of all time. No, this sad little undead wanna-be, which is fang-free (despite the very unreliable poster image above) is instead one of those supposedly "found footage" films purporting to show us what happens when an intrepid news crew sets up shop in the vampire home in order to show the world "the real thing."

After a short beginning that looks like it might be a relatively professional job of movie-making (giving us tons of exposition via the "breaking nightly news"), the writer/director Brian A. Metcalf (shown at left) begins pushing our don't-believe-this button over and over for his 87-minute running time. Even if you accept that these vampires would actually invite the news crew into their home as public relations stunt, you must then accept the fact that thee vampires hand out a list of ground rules (no crosses, holy water, wooden stakes, garlic, etc.), every last one of which the crew breaks -- without their hosts ever bothering to check the crew's luggage. Yes, it's that kind of dumb-ass movie.

It is also one of those films in which, although the characters being filmed ask repeatedly for the camera to be shut off, it never is. And they never notice this fact. Also, our news crew can manage to install camera equipment all around the house without its ever being detected. Wow. Yes, these must be the dumbest set of of bloodsuckers in the history of the genre. With that news crew not far behind.

The dialog occasionally rings interesting and pointed, which is a blessing, especially since some very good actors -- including William Sadler (above) and the late John Heard (below, to whom the film is dedicated) are doing what they can with the script.

The most energy and fun is provided by one of the younger vamps (Andrew Keegan, below) who gooses the movie into action whenever he appears. Otherwise, degeneration sets in early and continues throughout, until we get the de rigueur scene of running through a basement full of corpses while spouting some really awful dialog. Ah, well: I guess it's good to know that some things never change.

There is one particularly ugly scene (below) of a vampire ritual featuring a nearly nude and very voluptuous young woman (could they have found an actress with a larger set of fake tits? I don't think so) as the poor sacrificial victim. So be warned. For those of us still waiting for a good modern vampire tale, well, the wait grows ever longer....

From Red Compass Media, Living Among Us opens this Friday, February 2, at the Cinema Village, New York City; Laemmle's Music Hall 3, and other theaters across the country. Click here to view the full list of playdates, cities and venues. 

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