Venice 2023: ‘Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person’
by Alex Billington
September 10, 2023
There have been so many vampire films made throughout cinema history, that there’s not much that can be done to rethink or reinvent the vampire subgenre anymore. Of course, vampires are immortally beloved, so they always keep trying (also see: this year’s The Last Voyage of the Demeter). Every once in a while a clever little film will come along and try something fresh and new, and that’s always refreshing to experience. I was lucky to catch up with this little indie gem at the 2023 Venice Film Festival called Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person, from filmmaker Ariane Louis-Seize. It’s a very small film shot in Canadian French, made in Quebec, telling a charming little story of a vampire girl who just doesn’t like killing. Ohhh it’s so sweet and adorable and pulled off just right. What a great, bloody vampire gem, easy to watch and fall for, enjoyable in its simplicity with this concept. It’s more of a love story than a horror movie.
Originally titled Vampire Humaniste Cherche Suicidaire Consentant in French, Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person is directed by Ariane Louis-Seize, and co-written by Christine Doyon and Ariane Louis-Seize. The film is about a Quebecois girl named Sasha, played by emo perfection by Sara Montpetit, who is the youngest daughter in a family of vampires. The introduction to this family is witty and warm – they’re not brutal, vicious killers, they’re just a nice family trying to enjoy (eternal) life like any other family. However, Sasha doesn’t like killing humans. And while she needs blood to live, she prefers sipping it from a blood bag without having to worry about who they have to kill to get that blood. This teenage coming-of-age flick sends Sasha out into the world, where she meets a boy named Paul, played by Félix-Antoine Bénard. The film leans more into being a charming, awkward love story than being a vampire horror, with less gore, more romance. The two are a perfect fit for each other, but of course there are always something in the way – like the fact the rest of her family is wondering why she hasn’t made the kill yet and enjoyed his tasty blood.
On the good side, so much of this film is realized ever so wonderfully by the filmmaker and her team. From the gothic vibes to Sasha’s kooky yet wholesome family, to the lead actress and the many strange characters she encounters, to the fresh new take on vampires, specifically one who likes humans too much to kill any of them. If there’s any other vampire film to compare this to, it’s Let the Right One In (2008), though they’re still quite different in many ways. On the bad side, the actor who plays Paul isn’t that great, and the story itself is almost too simplistic, rolling through obvious romantic beats and a few cliche scenes before finally getting back to the heart of the story. There’s a rad soundtrack with a kick ass selection of tracks throughout, and slick cinematography by DP Shawn Pavlin. Above all, Sara Montpetit couldn’t be better playing Sasha, especially with the hair and make-up she’s given. This is a role she was born to embody, and she aces it. I’ll happily recommend this vampire charmer to any/everyone wanting to see something super sweet and savvy.
Alex’s Venice 2023 Rating: 8 out of 10
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