The Familiar is a cross between obsessions and choices versus a boss and the treatment of an employee, while wrapped up in a comedy vampire film, which is not over the top. A misinformed vampire fan becomes the personal assistant to a real Vampire, is the setup for the plot, but wait there is more to this story.
The storyline involves one vampire horror obsessed college student named Sam (Torrance Coombs) who presented with a glorious opportunity to be Simon (Paul Hubbard) – a 400-year-old Vampire’s assistant or a familiar.
Sam faced soon with hard slaps of reality as his dream job has a few drawbacks and filled with endless years of mind numbing chores. His menial disgusting tasks give little back, from the disposal of bodies to fetching more meals to handling finances to the repulsive task of bathing a his boss. His job begins to become confining as this is for a lifetime to repeats, with no chance of ever becoming a real Vampire (a dirty little secret of the business).
Although previous horror comedies such as Love at First Bite (1979) and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) (starring the late and great Leslie Nelson) have had a worthless ‘Renfield’ assisting them, Sam is the dutiful one, who is given nothing but troubles from his owner regardless of what him does to help him exist.
Writer and first-time Director Kody Zimmermann grants us this unique film that burned up the festival circuit in 2010 with numerous nominations and wins with his 22 minutes of different and yet enjoyable slant in this current climate of vampire cinematic rage with such films as Twilight. His film goes in the opposite direction from the endless remakes and is an exciting venture yet still pays to the legendary homage of Hammer Studios and shows the classic Nosferatu (1992) that Sam watches with memorized eyes.
Kody’s film is an exorcism of his own demons, that he discovered when spending time as an Hollywood actor’s assistant with sleepless nights, insane requests and ego trips all showing the shallow recesses of humanity while presenting a modern day Renfield’s point of view of countless unpaid and unappreciated servitude.
The Familiar features the gallows humor with that of the workplace while showing an assistants job bites them into a dark reality and sucks them dry of their life force. Some critics and fans of the film call for a full-length feature, however I disagree, and demand that it becomes a television series. The best line of the film is, “I wanted to meet Dracula and I ended up serving Danny Bonaduce with fangs”.