Living Among Us

The satirical premise of Living Among Us contends that, if vampires were openly part of society, they wouldn't be so different from humans. If that doesn't seem like that much of a set-up, consider the specifics: The commonly held details regarding vampiric activities are mostly exaggerations brought on by Hollywood, we are told. Vampires do have reflections in mirrors. They aren't bothered by crucifixes or garlic or holy water. Their days of hunting for food - in other words, feeding upon the necks of their prey - are over now that participating blood-donation facilities have been providing blood to those infected by vampirism after an outbreak a few years prior to the start of this story.

Indeed, the only suppositions regarding the day-to-day lifestyle of your average vampire that seem to be accurate are the tendency to crisp in direct sunlight and hibernating during the day. The framing device of director Brian A. Metcalf's screenplay is that a documentary crew has been hired to investigate the daily (or is that nightly?) goings-on of a vampire family in the suburbs. The perspective we see is that of the camera, which keeps recording, even when it's inopportune or dangerous. The crew consists of host Mike (Thomas Ian Nicholas), sound engineer Carrie (Jordan Hinson), and cameraman Benny (Hunter Gomez). Not much is learned about these three, other than that Mike and Carrie once dated and now bicker a lot and Benny's brother-in-law (played by James Russo) runs the operation.

The family of vampires (who live in the nice, stereotypically suburban house over here and not the creepy, run-down one over there, thank you very much) includes the patriarch Andrew (the late John Heard), his wife Elleanor (Esme Bianco), and their adoptive sons Blake (Andrew Keegan) and Selvin (Chad Todhunter). Andrew lays down specific rules for his guests (no going in the basement, no filming during "rituals," and no disturbing their sleep in the daytime). Elleanor thinks it rude to ask her age, even in a TV interview setting. Blake, who likes to put on a facade of retro-coolness, and Selvin, the creepy, quiet one of the family, take the crew on a nighttime hunt.

The comic potential carries Living Among Us for a good half-hour. The performances from Heard, Bianco, Keegan, and Todhunter as the members of the family are fittingly tongue-in-cheek as they dance around revealing the truth to the crew, and there is a welcome reliance on maintaining that sense of mystery for a while. Once the veil of that mystery is lifted (with the arrival to the house of Samuel, an official vampire representative played by William Sadler, and a scene in which we learn what happens in those rituals), all that comic potential screeches to a halt as the whole affair eventually becomes a generic horror show.

Film Information

Thomas Ian Nicholas (Mike), Jordan Hinson (Carrie), Hunter Gomez (Benny), John Heard (Andrew), Esme Bianco (Elleanor), Andrew Keegan (Blake), William Sadler (Samuel), Chad Todhunter (Selvin), James Russo (Aaron).

Directed and written by Brian A. Metcalf.

No MPAA rating.

87 minutes.

Released in select cities on February 2, 2018.

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