Living Among Us Review
Living Among Us is a 2018 horror film where vampires are now public and a group of documentarians are been granted access to spend some time with them.
Evolution is part and parcel to just about anything. If a film gets a franchise, it’s inevitable that the famous villain will mostly like get a chance to be the hero – think of The Terminator of Jurassic Park. With horror, zombies end up getting personalities and falling in love, and vampires, well, they get this, Brian A. Metcalf‘s latest Living Among Us, a found footage film that runs the gamut of the genre but has a few well-earned surprises hiding in the shadows.
In a series of newsflashes, we learn of a disease running across the globe, an ancient plague that its victims now hope will be brought into the light, per se. It’s vampirism, and in the modern age, those who have spent lifetimes under its power want only to be part of the rest of the world, making themselves public. The kick is, they are not who the media have made them out to be. They don’t have fangs, aren’t cursed by the cross, can be seen in mirrors, and live like everyone else, just can’t be out in sunlight and survive only on blood, which we learn is donated and collected without the gruesome death fiction has always burdened them with. A documentary crew, host Mike (Thomas Ian Nicholas), producer Carrie (Jordan Hinson), and cameraman Benny (Hunter Gomez) are offered a chance to get a look inside one vampire family’s home, to better expose them and curb everyone’s concerns, yet once there, not everything is how it seems.
Metcalf, who wrote the screenplay, is clearly having a jab at the genre, even as he takes it a bit seriously as things kick in. The vampires are led by patriarch Andrew (the late John Heard), who is calm and hospitable, seemingly looking to dismantle some old established misconceptions. He’s nearly two hundred years old and now has a young (respectively) wife, Elleanor (Esmé Bianco) and two twenty-something-looking (but much older) sons, Blake (Andrew Keegan) and Selvin (Chad Todhunter). They are all vampires and each have some decidedly odd quirks, which allows the film to have a little fun with the lore, especially as the movie crew have secretly wired themselves up with mini cameras that catch it all.
This being a found footage film, however, it’s obviously low budget, which is most apparent in the first few minutes before the actual ‘footage’ begins. It improves once in the house, though none of the crew are all that fun to watch, with Mike a bit obnoxious and Benny just kind of annoying. Also, in a way to cut to relevant bits, the film constantly does this tape jump static thing that wears out its welcome fast. Very fast. It’s an unfortunate distraction.
We get a lengthy cameo of sorts from William Sandler as a section leader of the vampires, and by the time he shows up, things finally get dark and it becomes clear that our documentarians have made a grave mistake. There are hints well before it that clue us to the obligatory final act, yet along the way, there are some good moments that actually elevate much of the film. Keegan is having the most fun, really embracing the humor of it all, giving the film much needed energy, and both Sandler and Heard are very good, convincing elders in the long line of bloodsuckers.
For fans of the found footage genre, there’s plenty to entertain. It doesn’t quite have the impact it aims for, and relies heavily on clichés to carry it through yet is still a much better film than it first appears to be. Limited by its budget, it falls short of its ambitions but is well worth a watch for a night of horror.
Living Among Us Review
Movie description: LIVING AMONG US IS A 2018 HORROR FILM WHERE VAMPIRES ARE NOW PUBLIC AND A GROUP OF DOCUMENTARIANS ARE BEEN GRANTED ACCESS TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH THEM.
Director(s): Brian A. Metcalf
Actor(s): Esmé Bianco, William Sadler, John Heard
Genre: Horror, Found Footage