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From the Boston Underground Film Festival: ‘Humanist Vampire Seeking a Consenting Suicidal Person’ Review: Not the Average Vampire Flick

Dir. Ariane Louise-Seize — 4 Stars

Sara Montpetit as Sasha in Ariane Louis-Seize's debut feature film, "Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person"
Sara Montpetit as Sasha in Ariane Louis-Seize's debut feature film, "Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person" By Courtesy of Boston Underground Film Festival
By J.J. Moore, Crimson Staff Writer

Warning: This review contains minor spoilers.

Ariane Louise-Seize’s first feature film, “Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person,” made its New England premiere at the Boston Underground Film Festival this past week. From bloody birthday parties to runaway teenagers and late night adventures comes a coming-of-age dark comedy for vampire, horror, romance, drama, and film fans alike to cherish.

Sasha (Sara Montpetit) is a vampire too empathetic to drink directly from a human. She has been living in her parents’ home for decades, unable to kill due to a traumatic birthday incident growing up. On the other hand, Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard) — a human bowling alley attendant — is struggling and depressed.

Both of them feel trapped within their daily lives.

When their worlds collide at a crate yard, they believe that they can help each other: Paul wants to die, but for a good reason, and Sasha wants to be a fully fledged vampire. Together, they embark on a journey to complete Paul’s final wish before Sasha kills him.

Montpetit is stellar as the lead of this film. There are very few actors who could have embodied Sasha so easily. She sucks her parents’ blood bags dry like an annoyingly dependent teenager inhaling an ICEE at the movie theater; she lurks in the shadows as if she is trying not to take up space; and she is able to demonstrate her love and affection for the joys that she finds in everyday life and human beings. Her humanity shines brightly on her incredibly pale skin. The script would be nothing without her performance. Most of all, Bénard’s character would not be as interesting without Montpetit. She makes Sasha so curious and empathetic towards Paul that it is impossible for the audience not to feel the same.

Bénard’s wide eyes and shrinking demeanor make Paul a relatable, comedic, and melancholy character. Although some of Paul’s behavior is a bit out of the ordinary — for example, he kills a bat and keeps it in his backpack — Bénard brings much-needed humor and a humanness to Sasha that the film needs to stay compelling.

Hilarious at times and conceptually ironic, Montpetit and Bénard still characterize Sasha and Paul’s depression and loneliness when needed. Their performances are neither overly dramatic nor excessively serious. Their portrayal of these emotions feels incredibly natural, even though the film itself is anything but.

The most memorable scene is when Sasha brings Paul back to her cousin’s apartment. The sequence is reminiscent of a moody teenager bringing their boyfriend home for the first time — a circumstance that could have easily become cliché, but refuses to.

While at her home, Sasha and Paul scroll through her record collection, landing on “Emotions” by Brenda Lee. The song scratches familiarly over the speakers and they both begin to relax, bobbing their heads and dancing beside each other between furtive glances. It’s not just their exchanges that make this scene original. In the background, the lights uncharacteristically embody Sasha’s emotions — they oscillate between white and red to the rhythm of her beating heart.

The film accomplishes originality at other major points: When Sasha considers whether to finally taste a human dessert — an action that would quickly end her — when her fangs come in for the first time, and when she finally sinks her teeth into a human neck. This all goes to show that although the vampire story has been told a hundred times over — from “Dracula” to “Hotel Transylvania” to “Twilight” — there is still cinematic magic out there to keep the genre fresh.

Sasha and Paul spend the rest of the night together, building his confidence to be killed. However, in the end, when it finally comes down to Sasha needing to kill him to save her life, she can’t. Paul no longer wants to die.

“Humanist Vampire Seeking a Consenting Suicidal Person” could be seen as romantic — two kindred souls bring out the best parts of each other — but it is just as much a story of long-lasting friendship.

The best kinds of friends are the ones that push one another and help turn each other into the people they not only wish to be, but must become. While Sasha helps Paul stay alive and fall in love with his current world, Paul helps Sasha find a way to keep her humanity and also be the person — or, vampire — she needs to be to live.

While vampire stories are often interlinked with romance, this is a movie that breaks the norm and does so thoughtfully and hilariously. It is a film that should not be missed when it eventually hits theaters around the world.

—Staff writer J.J. Moore can be reached at

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