Habit

This is-she-or-isn't-she-a-vampire movie is efficient enough at digesting genre tropes. Writer-director-editor Larry Fessenden stars as Sam, an alcoholic who forsakes his still-interested but judgmental ex for a woman he meets at a Halloween party. Anna (Meredith Snaider) doesn't like to talk about her job—it doesn't define her, she says, and Sam will find her more interesting the less he knows about her. They and other characters frequently engage in the reflexive conversations typical of the pretentious crowd Fessenden is slightly satirizing, and Sam's suspicion that Anna is a vampire because she's anorectic, reticent, and only comes out at night prompts his best buddy to observe that Sam resembles a character in a bad movie—as if the self-reference will deepen the obvious allusions to vampire-movie cliches. Sam and Anna's discussions about safe sex while they're having unsafe sex create a level of tension between the characters' behavior and their self-awareness that Fessenden isn't interested in examining—he just exploits it for empty irony. (1997, 112 min.)

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