Spoiler-Free Film Reviews: “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person” and “Property” (Make Believe 2024)

March 29, 2024

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at josephperry@gmail.com. He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person (Vampire humaniste cherche suicidaire consentant; Canada, 2023)

What an absolute blast Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person is! Director Ariane Louis-Seize’s French language coming-of-age vampire dramedy is a true charmer. Sasha (Sara Montpetit) is a reluctant teen vampire who suffers from adverse reactions when she witnesses humans being physically harmed. Her family members do their best to wean her off of blood bags and start her biting people. Matters become even more complicated when she meets bullied teen Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard) at an anonymous meeting for depressed and suicidal individuals. Paul is looking for a meaningful way to end his life, and sees that in Sasha’s becoming a true, people-biting vampire. Louis-Seize, who cowrote the screenplay with Christine Doyon, has crafted a touching, whimsical feature that examines the potential humanity in an undead being, gently and thoughtfully focusing on two characters trying to find their way in this world — and in Paul’s case, perhaps out of it. Montpetit and Bénard are absolutely terrific as a pair of likable misfits for whom it is easy to emotionally invest in, and the supporting cast members who play Sasha’s family are also strong. Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person doesn’t skimp on vampire violence either, which is played at times for comical effect and at other times as deadly serious. One of the most unique horror films you are likely to see this year, it is a strong contender for my list of best horror movies of this year.

 

 

Property (Propriedade; Brazil, 2022)

Writer/director Daniel Bandeira’s Property is a tense thriller that pits two widely divided social classes against each other. Tereza (Malu Galli) suffers PTSD after being held hostage at gunpoint. She remembers the dying breath of her captor when he was shot by police officers. She is reclusive, and reluctantly joins her husband Roberto (Tavinho Teixeira) on a getaway to their family farm after he buys a heavily armored vehicle so that she might feel safer. This being a thriller, it’s bad timing for the couple’s trip, as the many impoverished farmworkers who have toiled on the property for some time — some suffering physical injuries and some having lost family members there — have learned that the farm will be converted to a hotel and that they must leave. They must also pay off their many debts to the farm or not be given their papers or payment. The group takes on a mob mentality and invades the spacious farmhouse — an event that Tereza and Roberto happen upon — with angry members taking them hostage. Tereza locks herself in the vehicle, with Roberto suffering a beating inside the house. A tense hostage situation drives the rest of the film. While Property absolutely works on its surface level as a white-knuckler thriller, it falls short on its social commentary, as Bandeira turns the farmworkers into a murderous mob while giving viewers reasons to not fully side with captive Tereza, either. It is therefore not clear on which side Bandeira wants audience sympathy to fall, which doesn’t feel like the director’s intention. For home invasion chills, though, Property works well, with Galli giving an admirable lead performance.

 

 

Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person and Property screened as part of the 2024 edition of Make Believe Seattle, which ran March 21–26. For more information, visit https://www.makebelieveseattle.com/.

 

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