2024 Milwaukee Film Festival: Day Nine “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person”

It was a surprisingly packed house Friday night for the Cinema Hooligante / Teen Screen programmed HUMANIST VAMPIRE SEEKING CONSENTING SUICIDAL PERSON screening at the Times Cinema. And it appeared to send everyone home for the night in a good mood.

Sasha (Sara Montpetit), who appears to be a teenager physically and perhaps emotionally, is a vampire who has never taken a life and fed due to a childhood trauma. And her family is concerned that she’ll never grow up as a result and decide that it’s time to push her out on her own. She crosses paths with suicidal teenaged boy named Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard) who arouses her hunger and interest since she wouldn’t be taking anything that he wouldn’t willingly give up. Still it’s not an easy road to her first time and there are things to deal with like her cousin pushing her before she’s really ready and whether she can really go back. Plus, she’s really fond of Paul and wants to help him out of being bullied.

I don’t think you need to read too deep to understand the metaphor in that summary. It’s at heart a film about first love, the first time, and growing up and finding out who you want to be. There’s perhaps nothing new here, but it’s sensitive and funny. Largely due to the two leads and maybe especially Sara Montpetit.

The introduction to the film compared it to WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, but I think that wasn’t quite accurate. HUMANIST VAMPIRE SEEKING CONSENTING SUICIDAL PERSON has very little of the irreverence or willingness to go anywhere for  joke. And it’s certainly not playing in the mockumentary space. They’re both vampire comedies, but that’s really where the comparison ends. HUMANIST VAMPIRE SEEKING CONSENTING SUICIDAL PERSON gets its share of laughs but plays in a lower key, perhaps as much if not more interested in the character arcs as getting a laugh. Although there are a few big laughs, the biggest coming from Sasha’s cousin getting interrupted in the midst of a kill and inadvertently coming away with a new boyfriend who she can barely tolerate.

HUMANIST VAMPIRE SEEKING CONSENTING SUICIDAL PERSON is charming from start to finish. It has a clear intention and for the most part executes it well. The only real stumble for me would be the final wrap up which feels out of place and takes leaps in logic that the rest of the movie tries to avoid.

Friday was the only showing of HUMANIST VAMPIRE SEEKING CONSENTING SUICIDAL PERSON but there are still plenty of fine films playing at the festival. The 2024 Milwaukee Film Festival runs from April 11, 2024 until April 25, 2024. Tickets can be purchased via MKEFILM.ORG.