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Horror movie 'Living Among Us' regrettably marks one of John Heard's last roles

Horror movie 'Living Among Us' regrettably marks one of John Heard's last roles
John Heard in the movie "Living Among Us." (Vision Films)

The late John Heard gives one of his last screen performances in the found-footage vampire thriller "Living Among Us," playing the cool-headed patriarch in a household of blood-suckers, who've just had their existence exposed by TV reporters. After an opening barrage of fake news videos to establish the situation, the bulk of the film is from the POV of intrepid local cameramen, invited to spend a few days experiencing how "normal" the modern monster can be.

The 2014 mockumentary "What We Do in the Shadows" spun a similar premise for laughs, but "Living Among Us" goes the slow-burn horror route, with the news crew gradually becoming wary of their hosts — especially after they look back over surreptitiously acquired video of the vampires' arcane rituals and whispered conversations.

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Writer-director Brian A. Metcalf avoids the usual found-footage looseness, instead relying on scripted dialogue and professional actors (including former child star Thomas Ian Nicholas, who also produced). The cast is strong but their lines are painfully stilted.

As for Heard, the gifted character actor worked so prolifically and indiscriminately for so long that he was almost bound to wrap up his outstanding career with something as regrettable as "Living Among Us." But it's to Heard's credit that his presence in the movie is pretty much the only reason to watch.

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‘Living Among Us’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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