Vampire flicks come and Vampire flicks go, but this is the first that ever put me to sleep. TWICE! Twice I've watched it and twice I started getting drowsy. I've seen far more entertainment in home slide shows!
To say that this is an incredibly dull movie leaves much open to debate, so let me tell you why.
HABIT is first of all an independent release. Now I usually LOVE independent Horror releases, as they tend to be far more entertaining than Hollywood generally has the talent to achieve.
This is not the case with HABIT.
When a director is lost with the story or doesn't know what they are doing, you'll be watching shots of the main character walking over here, then over there, then over to another place. You will find yourself staring at close-ups of the character endlessly staring. The walking and the staring fills time without advancing the story. Like overlong and pointless fights (i.e. THEY LIVE), nothing is happening except running the film past the gate.
What HABIT does is give us these repetitive shots of the film's main character, Sam (Larry Fessenden) staring out the window, staring at his room, staring at a crowd, or just plain staring.
Sam comes from a moderately well to do family. He has traveled the world with his father who, as the movie opens, has just died. His girlfriend Liza (wonderfully played by Heather Woodbury) also took this opportunity to leave him as well.
Things are not going well in Sam's life and the director, (Larry Fessenden again, he also wrote this mess) is without a clue as how to express Sam's sorrow, loss, and general ennui other than: Just Keep The Camera On Me As I Stare.
Still, Sam seems to have some inheritance which allows him to live modestly without worrying about work and doing pretty much as he pleases (he occasionally manages a bar). He doesn't seem to wash, shave, brush his teeth, clean his clothes, change his clothes or have any interest in his life what so ever. In addition, he is also an alcoholic with a penchant for beating up his girlfriends when he gets drunk... and he's always drunk.
This apparently makes him a "Chick Magnet" as the three major women characters in the movie have a current or past relationship with him that they hope to nurture, re-ignite or still yearn for. Fessenden has written this dross with himself as the spoiled and jaded lover and the desire of all the main women characters. Sam is an alcoholic and tired of life. His life onscreen tells us this, but why Fessenden chose to add "stud" to Sam's character makes no sense unless it was just a personal ego thing. Sam is way out of character as a "lover"; damn hard for an audience to believe but hey, it's his movie!
Sam's clique of friends throw dull parties, live moderately well, eat well, have cottages on the beach, and despise people who are trying to attain (on their own) what Sam's friends inherited from their folks. One scene shows Rae (Patricia Coleman) shouting out of her car and threatening a guy who is doing nothing more than talking on a cell phone: his crime obviously being that by talking on a cell phone he is trying to have the kind of money that they were born into. The hypocrisy of this scene is that the three friends are en route to their Beach Cottage (complete with ranch) where they will celebrate Thanksgiving with plenty of food and drink and other friends who can afford this lifestyle. HABIT seems to admire the spoiled affluent who affect the imagined nobility of poverty and slam the poor bastards who have to bust ass to get ahead; all the while paying due lip service to the truly poor who appear to be stuck in their rut forever. HABIT, set in New York city, portrays their liberal chic ethic with a cast that is all white skin.
There are plenty of shots of struggling people just being themselves in the act of doing their jobs. They are never allowed to have a speaking part of course, their simple grace comes through the silent wallpaper dressing they give this film.
Anywho . . .
The question of the movie is: is she or is she not a Vampire? Maybe she is just some nutjob too screwy to hang with the goth crowd (well you may scoff, but I've met such people!). There are plenty of scenes that throw the question either way since everything we see about her is through Sam's perspective and he is drunk all of the time. The movie wants us to believe that she loves him, though HABIT is fashionable enough to have the de rigueur Sheridan Le Fanu CAMILLA scene. Anna attempts a lesbian tryst with one of Sam's ex-girlfriends.
Just why Anna has fallen in love with Sam or why she would even prefer his blood (maybe she loves the taste of Schlitz Malt Hemo') is a real mind bender and one that is difficult to believe. In case we didn't get it the first time, we are treated to repetitive scenes where Sam smokes too much, drinks too much, is generally unaware of his surroundings, self-absorbed, eats poorly and doesn't bathe. This is NOT a healthy guy! Surely there is better blood in New York than his (there is! I'll vouch for it!)!
In addition to the Ingmar Bergman-style staring at nothing shots, there are plenty of soft core sex scenes. Too bad the sex couldn't save this flick. The original movie poster showed Sam and Anna screwing on the hallway floor with their clothes on, which pretty much sums up all the sex scenes (Blockbuster and Hollywood Video ain't going to carry your flick unless the tape cover is clean enough for the wandering kiddies). While the first sex scene was a bit amusing (she leaves him to sleep off a handjob in a park), the rest show that Sam is a dull and uninspired lover. What do you expect from a drunk (this is why they left the sex scenes out of ARTHUR)? We're supposed to believe that women are mad for Sam, desperate for him, still pine for him when he can't even stay awake during sex? The New York women I've had the opportunity to meet have far better taste than this.
Fessenden's writing, direction, and acting never allow his character of Sam to develop or reach a stage of believability, much less the rest of his characters. Especially the character of Rae. In one brief scene, Sam's best friend Nick (Aaron Beall, one of two believable actors whose performance stands out from this flick), tosses up the fact that Sam and Rae (Nick's girlfriend) were once lovers and that he sees how Rae still looks at Sam that "certain" way. She still wants him. This fact is never explored other than to reveal that Sam also used to get drunk and hit her. This out-of-the-blue, ham-handed exposition is the only way we learn just what kind of person Sam is: oh, and he stares off into space a lot.
Exceptions of Note:
Aaron Beall is one of those actors that never seem to act. Every word, every move that he makes appears to be entirely without method or rehearsing. Beall makes his behavior throughout feel as if he is hearing all for the first time, and his words and physical reactions aren't scripted but ring true without apparent forethought.
These two people are all that is worth the expense of your money and time. Probably the most unforgivable thing about HABIT is just how insipid it really is. It doesn't scare or even chill; it bores! Bores you to sleep! For not even having the saving grace of being unintentionally funny, this movie gets 1 Shriek Girl.
KILL IT BEFORE IT BREEDS!
E.C. McMullen Jr. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
|Feo Amante's Horror Home Page, Feo Amante's Horror Thriller, and feoamante.com are owned and
Copyright 1997 - 2018 by E.C.McMullen Jr.
All images and text belong to E.C.McMullen Jr. unless otherwise noted.
All fiction stories belong to their individual authors.