Living Among Us is a vampire film that attempts to inject something a little bit different into the tired genre. Interestingly, it was filmed in 2013 but only just released in 2018. Also, it is the final film of John Heard who sadly passed away several months prior to release. Does Living Among Us succeed in delivering something that’s worth your time?
Breaking news! Vampires have just revealed themselves to the world. They have been living among us all along but it isn’t all bad news. Sure, they’ve been slaughtering humans for centuries but they have seen the error of their ways. Now, they want to figuratively step into the light and co-exist with humanity.
A documentary crew have been invited into the household of some vampires. This is in the hopes that humans will see that they are just like us. They may have some eccentricities but on the whole they are simple folk and there is nothing to fear. Mike (Thomas Ian Nicolas) leads the team along with Carrie (Jordan Hinson) & cameraman Benny. That’s right, this is a found footage film. Everything that we see is footage that was recovered from their time at the vampire’s residence. Anyway, the team make their way to the vampire’s lair.
Once there, they meet supposed head vampire Andrew (John Heard) and his wife Eleanor. Also, living with them is Selvin & the charismatic Blake (Andrew Keegan). Mike begins to interview each of them and everything seems normal at first. However, Blake is far more honest about how he feels about the current arrangement. This startles the group but Andrew explains that some of them are having a harder time adjusting. He makes a reasonable argument that vampirism is simply a medical condition that isn’t to be feared. They no longer hunt humans but instead get their blood supply from a blood bank. He explains that it is not too different to eating farmed meat products, it’s quite a convincing argument.
Anyway, he does warn Mike and the crew to stay out of the basement. For whatever reason, Mike accepts this. As things move along, Carrie becomes strangely ill. Then, the true intentions of the vampires begin to show themselves more and more. Mike wants to stay so he can get solid evidence to use against the vampires, regardless of Benny’s protests. Will they make it out alive? Are the vampires truly as innocent as they appear? Watch Living Among Us to find out.
Living Among Us presents an interesting concept but one that isn’t executed as well as it could have been. Still, it’s something a bit different which is beneficial. It somewhat reminded me of What we do in the Shadows (2014) but without any of the comedy. For the most part, Living Among Us plays it very straight faced. One of my biggest gripes surrounds the whole documentary concept itself. It quickly becomes clear that the vampires are hiding something. They do a terrible job at keeping up the façade, so why agree to be filmed in the first place? If they didn’t want to be completely transparent then why even do it?
Had the vampires invited the crew to their house just to murder them then why do they play along for so long? If deep down they want to slaughter humans then why even bother pretending? The film does give a reason of sorts but it’s weak at best. The lack of clarity surrounding their intentions or motivations makes it all confusing, stupid and ultimately leads to the death of certain characters.
The film attempts to explain why Mike and his crew stick around for so long but it becomes nonsensical very quickly. There are plenty of good opportunities to leave, even when they have credible footage. These characters take the most complicated route time and time again. Carrie is bedbound for days and they do practically nothing to help her or seek medical help.
If you’re easily annoyed by found footage movies then Living Among Us will do little to sway you. It provides good reasons as to why the camera keeps rolling in certain horrific scenarios but that doesn’t excuse the jarring, shaking cameras and nauseating angles. Also, the constant flickering and screen tearing gets tiresome very quickly.
The performances are in a word mixed. However, I did enjoy Andrew Keegan as Blake as he’s clearly having fun with the role. The effects are decent but equally as hit and miss as the acting.
Overall, Living Among Us has a couple of highlights but fails to be particularly memorable. It attempts to portray its concept with some realism and then continuously has people act in unrealistic, logically flawed ways. At the very least, it’s different and entertaining enough to be worth a watch.
Living Among Us