“Skin is all there is between you and the rest of the world.”
Writer/Director/Editor/Star Larry Fessenden paints an uncommonly sad portrait of vampirism in Habit. Fessenden has a loose, flat formalism that makes his pictures feel intimate and naturalistic without ever really letting the viewer get completely comfortable – the flatness of the image is always reminding you, subconsciously perhaps, of the artificiality. And those opposing tendencies create a powerful sense of dissonance. Everything gets a little creepier. And when dealing with something as old school as vampires, a little extra creep factor is a plus.
But, honestly, the reason this works so well is because it isn’t really a story about vampirism. Not traditionally. It’s a story about the how long we can hold onto the delusion of stability in the face of an overwhelming reality. And it’s not long. When your girlfriend decides you both need to separate because of your drinking, but you maintain that you don’t drink too much. When your friend disappears for weeks on end, and you manage to brush it off, saying ‘he’s always disappearing.’ When your dad dies and all you can do is stare at old photographs of the two of you, but then talk like you don’t miss him. When you meet a new girl and she sucks your blood, who knocks you out, who leaves you covered in bruises, and you realise that you’re starting to really like that pain for reasons you refuse to admit. When it’s as easy as picking up another bottle from the corner store and not even thinking.
Because it’s a habit.*
*Yep. I did that.