Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Habit (1997)

Fear - 2/5
Gore - 2/5
Creepiness - 2/5
Entertainment - 4/5
Nightmares - 2/5

An interesting take on the vampire genre, Habit begins its story by introducing an alcoholic man who recently lost his father. He is presented as a general loser by all accounts, spending his days and nights drinking while working for a local bar that doubles as a venue for local musicians. Its apparent that he has no control or focus on his life as he has recently lost both his father and girlfriend, the latter of whom left him. He and his former flame, however, stay in touch and can't seem to let go, being a source of contention later on in the movie.

The lonely drifter attends a friends party on Halloween. True to his lifestyle and friend's expectations, he shows up already smashed. While at the party, he runs into a strikingly beautiful woman who is very vague on the subject of how she knows the hosts. Not that it matters to our alcoholic lead character, his sole focus is this beautiful and mysterious woman. She gives him her number and disappears after our drunken lead, upon leaving the party, goes back to retrieve his jacket that he had left. Our tragic lead wakes up the next morning, finds that he has lost her number, and spends the next few days thinking about her incessantly.
After fixating on her for days, he runs into her at a carnival that he is attending with friends. They promptly express their desires for each other and soon frolic into the night and spend an awkward moment of passion with each other in a park. Something is not right about this woman as evidenced by this scene, which includes a passionate biting of his lip. Soon thereafter, they begin to date and the woman becomes increasingly obsessed with him.
During this time of dating (as the viewer), you start to wonder why the female lady friend only shows up at night, why she never calls him, and how does she always seem to find a way to be at the same places that our fugly lead man inhabits? And then you begin to wonder why in the hell does HE not realize this too? Not until 3/4 of the way into the movie does he put two and two together and suggest to his friends that maybe she is a vampire only to be chastised by his friends for such an absurd idea. As he begins to turn away from her, she becomes even more obsessed and goes after the one last thing that she perceives as being the only object still left in the way.
What makes this such an interesting film is not only the lack of any overtly gory or creepy scenes (although there are a couple) but just how different it is compared to other vampire movies. As the movie further evolves, finishing with the shocking climax, you are left wondering, was the female vampire a figment of his imagination or was she real? Was the vampire a manifestation of all the things wrong with his life or was she really a blood thirsty demon of the night, hellbent on being with him and trying to lead a normal life with someone she genuinely loves? A solid flick all around and a pleasant surprise catching this late night on IFC. I highly recommend it.
Cortez the Killer

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