With the demise of real movies on big screens that appeal to real audiences, we’re in the middle of an alarming trend to make movies on the cheap, with good actors desperate to continue their careers, and explore repugnant themes that try to be “different” but ultimately just deplorable. Most of them aren’t even released in commercial cinemas, but are instead on various streaming services. The result is a plethora of junk movies, too many to list, but if you saw it Bones and all, Babylon, or Crimes of the future (just to name a few recent debacles) then you know what I mean.
BLOOD ★ (1/4 stars)
The latest horror show is called a bomb Blood. The title says it all because there’s enough of that to fill a transfusion bank. After an unpleasant divorce, nurse and former drug addict Jess (Michelle Monaghan) moves her two children – teenage daughter Tyler and young son Owen – to a remote rural farmhouse. Owen’s dog Pippin, sensing something in the woods, runs away. Despite posters and newspaper advertisements, he stays away for so long that they give up hope that he will ever return. But when he reappears, his eyes glow in the dark, he growls at the kids, foams at the mouth, and attacks Owen savagely. The dog tests negative for rabies, but they put him down anyway and bury him in the backyard. At the hospital, instead of hydrophobia, the little boy develops a rare bacterial infection that turns out to be much worse, causing seizures and a wild desire for blood. First he drinks the plasma in his IV, then stronger stuff from human veins.
It’s a good thing Mom’s a nurse. She can steal blood from the hospital’s medical supplies storage area. It’s creepy, but it’s the only way she can keep him alive. So when the supply runs out, Mom replaces the plasma with blood from her own veins. But of course too much of a good thing can lead to mental fatigue, physical exhaustion and bad character. Desperate to keep Owen alive, she supplements his diet with food from a dying cancer patient, locks the woman in the canning cellar and… . . but enough already. This movie goes downhill so fast that it unintentionally turns from horror to comedy, but when they see the box office salutes, I don’t think director Brad Anderson or screenwriter Will Honley will be the ones laughing.
From one shock (and one snack) to the next, this movie is a disaster waiting to happen. Daughter Tyler finds the prisoner in the basement, the patient falls on a barbed wire fence and slits her throat, and when Owen’s estranged father (Skeet Ulrich) takes him home to live with his wife and newborn baby, the film reaches a highlight. that can only be described as horrific. It makes no sense and the details are too gruesome to even describe. The idea of an adolescent vampire is grim (and silly) enough, but the juicy scare intended by a boy hovering over a nursery with hunger in his eyes eludes me. He is played by a kid named Finlay Wojtak-Hissong. With a nickname like that, I doubt I’ll see him grow old on screen. Michelle Monaghan, on the other hand, is an actress whose previous film appearances opposite A-list co-stars like Tom Cruise and Leonard DiCaprio earned her critical acclaim for wit, charm, and comedic talent, none of which can be seen in Blood.
Observer Reviews are regular reviews of new and notable movies.