In the vein of her short films, where she explored female sexuality and marginality, Ariane Louis-Seize delivers a first feature film with a singular charm where she flirts nicely with horror, initiatory stories and sentimental comedy.

From her first short film, Wild Skin (2016), where Marilyn Castonguay played a mute snake woman with a penetrating gaze, Ariane Louis-Seize was able to impose her signature. Crowned with the prize for best director in the Venice Days section at the last Mostra, the equivalent of the Filmmakers’ Fortnight in Cannes, Humanist Vampire Seeks Consenting Suicide confirms that the INIS graduate has a gift for creating offbeat and approach the first emotions of love in an original way.

A young 68-year-old vampire, Sasha (Sara Montpetit) is the black sheep of her family. Unable to bring herself to bite humans because of her empathy, which prevents her canines from growing, she must content herself with drinking through a straw the bags of blood brought to her by her mother Georgette (Sophie Cadieux). However, the matriarch, with little support from her husband Aurélien (Steve Laplante), can no longer bear hunting for the whole family.

In order for her to embrace her true nature, Sasha will have to go live with her cousin Denise (Noémie O’Farrell), a ferocious predator of douchebags and daughter of austere aunt Victorine (Marie Brassard). One night, Sasha surprises Paul (Félix-Antoine Bénard), a victim of bullying, who is about to throw himself from the top of a bowling alley. Soon after, the fierce nocturnal creature and the shy boy feel mutually attracted.

With its ghostly industrial suburbs, its retro interiors plunged into darkness and its atypical heroine, a tender cross between Billie from Cœur de slush and Wednesday Addams, this first feature film by Ariane Louis-Seize shares family resemblances with what s The best thing in the genre has been done in recent years.

Thus we happily find reminiscences of Only Lovers Left Alive, by Jim Jarmusch, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, by Ana Lily Amirpour, and Let the Right One In, by Thomas Alfredson. The difference is that the filmmaker prefers humor to hemoglobin, funny family clashes to bloody hunting trips, shy and awkward connections to torrid antics.

Written with Christine Doyon, also trained at INIS, this charming vampire film – a genre exploited here in parodic mode by Gabriel Pelletier (Karmina and Karmina 2: Chabot’s Hell) and realistically by Daniel Roby (La Peau white) – is, unfortunately, based on a scenario that is a little too thin, even anecdotal. Certainly, the director and her co-writer joyfully juggle with the codes of horror, initiatory stories and romantic comedies. What’s more, they treat adolescent spleen, depression and suicide with wit and sensitivity. With the same fine humor, they touch on the mental burden and assisted dying.

However, they neglect to develop the secondary characters, including Sasha’s hilarious parents and aunt, to flesh out the family situation of Paul and his mother (Madeleine Péloquin) and to refine the surprising conclusion. The result is a cute gothic horror comedy which, although it revisits with a certain audacity a genre explored to the limit since the silent era, lacks a little crunch.