Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the horror feature LIVING AMONG US (2018) by writer/director Brian A. Metcalf. To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:
“Vampires have just made themselves public! Now a group of documentarians have been granted access to spend some time with them and learn how they coexist with humans. As reality begins to set in, the crew begins to realize they are in for far more than they bargained for.”
The vast majority of horror fans will read that description and will write this film off as a copy of the horror comedies What We Do in the Shadows (2014) or Vampires (2010). In a way this is both a fair and completely unfair comparison as all three have similar conceits, but Living Among Us executes the idea without much humor. Taking a more horror based approach to the material gives this an entirely different flavor that helps this movie distinguish itself from the aforementioned comedies.
Moving on from similarities, I feel it imperative to mention the general style of the piece. While this is set up as a found footage picture, the camera was rarely super jerky in the way that became nauseating and they never cheated with using camera angles that could not possibly be utilized by the crew. Ironically, while I liked that they did not make the camera so manic as to be disorienting, they did add some static crackles to the image that were a bit annoying. I can appreciate that these sorts of things happen with camera equipment, but given that this was an experienced documentary crew, I would expect that they had higher end cameras that would not keep cutting out. The crazy part was that the cuts sometimes happened during the more placid events, such as the interviews, which just seemed unbelievable.
The interview portions are where we saw the strength of the actual acting within the feature. First off, for me it was odd seeing the late John Heard, but man did he sell his role as the secretive patriarch of the vampire family. The headliner for most people is going to be the creepily charismatic Blake, whose performance is marvelously larger than life. Apart from the vampire clan we also have the documentary crew who are all capable enough, but not as interesting as the antagonists.
There were some inconsistencies in the story that called into question the logic/motivations of the various characters. Without giving too much away, the documentary crew decided to stick around for far longer than seems necessary given what they had seen/filmed. From the same perspective, the vampires themselves say something near the end of the movie that did not gel with their actions ahead of the finale. While I can sort of justify the hole in the vampire’s logic, the fate of the documentary crew could have been avoided since they had plenty of evidence ahead of the final reveal.
All in all, I appreciated a lot of the style of this piece, but the static was occasionally jarring. The inconsistencies in the script were relatively easy to look past thanks to performances that ranged from capable to memorable. Fans of movies like What We Do in the Shadows (2014) who would like to see a more horror based take on the concept should give this a look.
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