Vampires have an timeless attraction (poor pun meant). From the silent film Nosferatu from 1922 to the upcoming Nicolas Cage-as-Dracula film Renfield, cinema has really spent a century flirting with bloodsuckers and dancing with these devils. Film is only one a part of this fascination– vampiric myths date once more a whole bunch of years to historic Mesopotamia and had a resurgence through the Medieval interval and onwards as a consequence of their affiliation with Satanic concepts, a recurring concern in Christendom.

Prolonged sooner than Kristen Stewart was making googly-eyes at Robert Pattinson’s pale Twilight character and Stephanie Meyers gave vampires some sparkle, Bram Stoker was mastering the vampire tropes all through an in some other case moralistic Victorian interval in his novel Dracula. The Bela Lugosi film and quite a few iterations have carried out into the character, who’s usually accompanied by and lurking near beautiful girls who can’t resist his mesmerizing gaze. The massive recognition of HBO’s True Blood had its methodology, using the phrase “coming out of the coffin” as an allegorical euphemism for the current’s LGBTQ-affirming deal with the vampire mythology.


That exact phrase is utilized in director Meredith Edwards’ film Chew Me, which is now streaming and accessible to rent. Whether or not or not creator and star Naomi McDougall Jones included the terminology as a referential homage to True Blood or simply lifted it for her private features is up for debate, nevertheless the film builds upon the current’s modernized deal with vampirism and runs with it.

Embracing the Weird

Christian Coulson next to his robot pillow in Bite Me
Naomi McDougall Jones / Sarah Wharton

If one thing, however, Chew Me is about embracing one’s inside weirdness higher than it is about vampire legends themselves. Really, the film outright dispels the usual lore surrounding vampires and destroys the mythology from the get-go, as these vamps are fully excellent getting a tan in daylight or checking their make-up inside the reflection of a mirror; as well as they don’t chunk people (that’s unsanitary and is definitely assault), nevertheless as a substitute pay or get your hands on donors, using lancets, razors or needles to get the small amount of blood they need to survive. Moreover they don’t sleep in coffins– that’s considered type of racist to them.

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If this all sounds sacrilegious or blasphemous to the vampire canon, that’s on account of the vampires in Chew Me are actually people who merely suppose they’re vampires. These characters (and actually precise people) think about that they’ve a genetic state of affairs of varieties that solely human blood can alleviate. “Have you ever ever tried dietary nutritional vitamins?” a persona asks sardonically. They’ve, they often’ve visited medical medical doctors and have gotten check out outcomes, nevertheless nothing seems to alleviate their ‘anemia on steroids’ state of affairs moreover human blood. Possibly they play into the mythos a bit, attending gothic vampire occasions in abandoned cathedrals and dressing up for the half, nevertheless in some other case, they’re merely human beings like all people else. They’ve a social clique, they attend church within the occasion that they want to (even when it’s a vampire church with three members in a small apartment), they like picnics, they often put up motion pictures on the net. Vampires — they’re an identical to us!

This case is termed ‘medical vampirism’ (usually usually generally known as ‘Renfield’s syndrome’), and higher than 50,000 people with it have been listed in psychiatric literature alone. The film navigates this with tact, under no circumstances judging its characters or insensitively condescending to them as ‘crazy.’ The viewers is granted entry to their small group vicariously through the character of James, carried out by Christian Coulson (biggest usually generally known as Tom Riddle, or Lord Voldemort, in Harry Potter, however moreover wonderful in Peter and John and the Amazon assortment Mozart inside the Jungle). James works for the IRS, and his first enormous case is auditing a small church generally known as The Residence of Twilight, along with its member Sarah. He suspects fraud, nevertheless points get subtle when he meets Sarah and falls for the blue-haired vampire.

Coming Out of the Coffin

Christian Coulson and Naomi Grossman enter a party
Naomi McDougall Jones / Sarah Wharton

Sarah is an fascinating character, carried out by the creator and producer Naomi McDougall Jones, who really met a self-identifying vampire on the set of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. She carried out an ‘interview with the vampire’ (pun nonetheless meant) and was impressed to place in writing Chew Me “to make a movie for the true weirdos, for people who don’t actually really feel seen, who don’t actually really feel understood,” as she suggested The Aspen Events. As talked about, the film is definitely a love letter to the weirdo in all people, and the story of James’ blossoming relationship with Sarah is generally a narrative of acceptance and finding out to respect and honor the variations in others, even after they would possibly seem completely bizarre to a person.

Whether or not or not it’s politically applicable and insensitive or not, the film makes direct parallels between the vampirism of its characters and the experience of the LGBTQ+ group. The characters in Chew Me face prejudice, have nervousness over ‘coming out,’ are surrounded by usually ignorant misconceptions, and usually battle to be accepted in a world the place people demand clear labels. Even James, the uptight British man working for the IRS, has an identification he usually feels compelled to repress or fears revealing– he sleeps with a robotic physique pillow named Mellowtron, which was the very final thing his father gave him, and James has grown up wishing to be a robotic, as properly. His mother pushes him to be (and be with) someone he isn’t, and he solely really feels free for the first time when attending a gothic vampire rave, the place he realizes that weirdness is totally cool.

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The film follows Sarah as the two change into additional weak, opening as much as each other no matter their fears of being really seen and having their respective eccentricities uncovered. That’s manifested in the perfect scene of the film, a humorous, beautiful love scene the place the two slowly disrobe whereas James reveals factor after factor about himself and his private weirdness. It’s an inspiring and heartwarming scene, though the film which surrounds it is usually surprisingly not weird enough, given its matter and themes.

There’s Not Adequate Weird to Embrace

Naomi Grossman gets blood sucked out of her wrist in Bite Me
Naomi McDougall Jones / Sarah Wharton

Really, Chew Me succumbs to the exact same tropes of all the rom-com choices it seems to willfully distance itself from. These characters don’t think about inside the type of love seen in movies, one factor expressed when Sarah presents the excellent and tender line, “You make me want each half I assumed I was larger than. You make me want that garbage.” Sadly, loads of the movie is the exact issue Sarah thought she was larger than. Whereas not garbage, the film is endlessly spinoff of all the clichés and emotionally manipulative strategies romantic comedies have perfected over time. There’s the “delayed epiphany,” “the mad dash” to fulfill up with one’s beloved after a “sturdy assumption” which results in poor communication and pointless battle, and on and on.

Even the in some other case good music inside the film turns into hopelessly weak to this. Whereas usually rollicking and laden with percussive beats and heavy guitars, the punk-rocky soundtrack disappears absolutely at positive moments in favor of the exact same predictable strings which on a regular basis swell up at romantic moments in motion pictures. The script, which can be very perceptive and humorous in areas, equally succumbs by resorting to drained dialogue and humor in areas the place one factor quite extra fascinating could be said, or not said– there’s an exact need in cinema for romantic comedies with a lot much less tacky dialogue and additional sort, character commentary, and directorial expertise; L.A. Story and the newer Palm Springs are good examples.

In spite of everything, if someone is a fan of romantic comedies and wouldn’t ideas slightly little bit of weirdness with the all the usual sentimental sap and magnificence, then that’s possibly an incredible little film that stands out from the rest, at least merely by means of matter. The true-life vampire narrative is genuinely fascinating, every as an allegory and as a possibility to find distinctive experiences and subcultures. The blue-haired Sarah and her group are actually pretty fascinating, significantly with the inclusion of Chrissy, carried out by the woefully underrated Naomi Grossman, who most people sadly solely know as Pepper from American Horror Story. She brings an energy, comedy, and humanity to Chrissy that is really one of many very important endearing ‘rom-com biggest buddy‘ characters in latest occasions, and he or she brings the an identical magnetism to every character she’s going to get to play (and hopefully there are loads of additional to return).

Chew Me really has its moments, nevertheless whereas its matter and characters are fascinating, the film which surrounds them is surprisingly not. It apparel up like a vampire, nevertheless really it’s merely one different regular, sentimental rom-com.

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