Vampires are often so brooding and dramatic. It’s nice to see them get goofy once in a while. Writer/Director Max Werkmeister’s Danni and the Vampire is a silly and almost sweet tale about a vampire and the monster hunter who tries to help him, that also has a little something to say about activism and social justice.

Danni, played by Alexandra Landau, is a vagabond cryptid hunter looking to recapture the thrill she got when she set the Jersey Devil free to live its life after having captured it.  She is living in her car, eating take out lobster tails, having experimental sexual encounters with strangers, but nothing is bringing back that sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. It is after a disappointing (for her) bondage session that she learns this one night stand is actually with a man hoping to recruit her to help his group apprehend and kill some local cryptids. Her reputation has preceded her.

As it turns out there is another group who has been following her story, more of a cryptid liberation group, and these hipsters want her to help free a ‘harmless’ vampire that the rival activist group has in custody. A personal aside here: vampires are not cryptids. Cryptids are animals whose existence is unsubstantiated, vampires are a paranormal entity or more like a human changed by a virus, anyone can become one…theoretically speaking of course. This bothered me the whole film, but not enough that I couldn’t enjoy myself (and yet enough that I felt compelled to mention it).

At this point the story might sound a little convoluted, but it really nicely branches into two adventures. The rival activist groups are forced to team up to try to recapture the vampire who, surprise, still kills people. Meanwhile Danni is getting to know her new vampire friend Remy (Henry Kiely). Remy has a dream of opening a vampire sanctuary and Danni is going to help him secure a location and set up this safe space in the hopes that this will help her find her own life’s purpose.

Remy has a dream of opening a vampire sanctuary and Danni is going to help him secure a location and set up this safe space in the hopes that this will help her find her own life’s purpose. 

There is a fun chemistry between Danni and Remy, but this movie gets in its own way with a little too much goofiness. Any hint of a tender moment or a real emotion is immediately pushed aside for a cheap joke or a bit of slapstick. Both characters could use a bit more development, though at an hour and forty five minutes it’s hard for me to say that I wish this movie was longer. There are some montages that could have been sacrificed to make room for a bit more back story for our leads. Additionally, the blood is used surprisingly sparingly for a vampire movie, but Werkmeister seems to have saved his budget for a few really key gore moments.

The unsung hero of this movie is the subplot featuring Margaret (Caron Clancey), from the cryptid liberation group, and Kaine (Scott Vermeire), from the group hoping to rid the world of these monsters by straight up killing them. The friction and cooperation between these two is more compelling than the main plot and also an interesting take on the activism vs slactivism argument. Margaret is happy to create a hashtag and get an issue trending to free a monster, but doesn’t even think twice about what might happen once these creatures are set loose again (Remy killed 7 people immediately, for instance). Kaine has more pragmatic, and violent, methods of hunting and eradicating these threats. I would watch a whole movie of these two tracking down and ethically containing dangerous creatures.

Overall, I had fun with Danni and the Vampire. The plot weaknesses were easier to overlook when the mayhem kicks into gear. There is plenty of reckless chaos and vampires doing vampire things, which is what you come to a movie like this to see.