on 5 April 2012
I discovered this film about half a decade ago, but have heard almost nothing about it since. Whether I'm reading books, or visiting horror movie review websites, the trend remains consistent: nobody has anything to say about this film - which is odd, considering that it got some very positive reviews from critics like Roger Ebert at the time of its release. Having impressed the critics and defied expectations, this remarkable film then went on to disappear without a trace. Why that is, I cannot say - lousy distribution, perhaps? Who knows? Whatever the case, the film has been forgotten.
I think that should change.
First things first though, what's the movie actually about? Well, here's a brief plot summary: Sam (played by director Larry Fessenden) is a down on his luck drunk, who is reeling from the collapse of a relationship, as well as the death of his father. One night, at a Halloween party, Sam unexpectedly meets the mysterious Anna, and the two quickly become intimately attached. The intense relationship goes on for some time, and during that period Sam starts to notice a lot of strange things happening around him -or rather, around Anna- which lead him to wonder whether there is more to his new lover than meets the eye. Maybe this is all a paranoid delusion on his part though..? It could be that Sam is losing it. But what if he's right though - what if Anna is actually a vampire?
The above plot synopsis doesn't really do justice to the film. Habit is one of those character-study/mood-pieces that emphasises details, suspense and character interaction (ala Rosemary's Baby) rather than convoluted plotting. For that reason, it's rather difficult for me to explain why the film works and why any self-respecting vampire movie buff should check it out.
From the 80's onwards it became common to see screen vampires de-mythologized by saying that they're humans who've been afflicted with some kind of disease, or are the result of some other natural phenomenon. In Habit no attempt is made to de-mythologize the gothic bloodsucker in this way. In fact, the film draws attention to the incongruity of this anachronistic superstition appearing in contemporary New York. Surely nobody could really believe in such things in this day and age! The viewer could very reasonably draw the conclusion that Sam has indeed lost his mind, as his friends begin to suspect. And that's precisely why the film works so well - because it leaves room for ambiguity and subtext, and doesn't force a single interpretation down the viewers' throats.
Nonetheless, the film is rich with details and nuance, and provides a satisfying hour and a half for any patient viewers who aren't just watching for the blood and guts. So long as you understand that this film is more like Rosemary's Baby than, say, The Lost Boys, then you should be fine.
Sometimes the acting falls short of perfection, but it never becomes a serious problem; likewise, the dialogue can be forced and clumsy at times, but never to the point where the viewer becomes annoyed or distracted. The low budget is also evident at times, but that didn't bother me either because the film isn't at all reliant on spectacular special effects.
If you're a fan of suspenseful and tragic horror movies that are bursting with ideas and subtexts, then you should definitely do yourself a favour and check this film out. Oh, and if you do enjoy it then be sure to spread the word too. This film has "cult classic" written all over it.
on 21 March 2011
Plot. A man meets a girl, falls in love but she will only see him at night. She's a vampire.
This is a vampire drama which is unusual to say the least. It's boring as hell that's for sure. If you're looking for action very little here but if you can maintain your attention for almost 2 hours you'd be in for a tale that's fairly engrossing. The dialogue is well written and the actors are believable. The young man starts off as a lonely type character who's life is changed for the better with the girl but before long doubts begin to come to the fore about the relationship and he's then in something he doesn't quite understand.
This was an interesting and a bit disturbing modern take on the vampire myths and more like a psychological horror drama which due to its slow pace will not appeal to everyone.
Extras are a making of and bios. USA Release but plays Region zero.