Written and directed by Richard LeMay.
Starring Eden Brolin (Beyond, Emerald City, I Dream Too Much), Rosa Arredondo (Iron Fist, Babygirl, Feel The Noise), Eric Nelsen (Nightmare Cinema, The Bay, The Student) and Ross Wellinger (Then That Happened, Long Distance, After Ever After).
Every 25 years, it begins. Bound to an ancient pact, a family of unlimited power descend upon a small rural town to sacrifice a human life, a newborn baby that is a bloodline of their own family. The ritual begins when 3 teens break into the witches home to steal a chest full of money. They are caught and subjected to a ritual and the girl, Kerry is raped. Kerry, after being raped by one of the witches finds herself pregnant, realizes her unborn baby is the target of a sinister plot. As the months pass and people around her begin to turn up dead, she desperately searches for a way out of this unthinkable situation. The family must perform this ritual to maintain their power or die. In charge of carrying out each sacrifice as his initiation is David, a young man conflicted with his destiny. He unexpectedly begins to fall for Kerry, which weighs on his conscience as they get closer to the final sacrifice.
I’d been hearing some buzz here and there in the community regarding this film throughout the last few months but have been unable to find anybody speaking their full thoughts regarding it. This being an issue in my mind, I decided to take a first hand look at the film, reviewing it for myself.
The premise intrigued me as did the trailer which, in combination, was enough to reel me in. Unfortunately, what I had seen in the film was far from what I was hoping this film would be able to achieve.
The story tells of a family of witches who are forced to perform a blood ritual every twenty-five years thanks to a deal their ancestors have made with a demon. The ritual in question requires four victims to be sacrificed, three people of random choosing and one who is part of the family’s own bloodline. This alone is a great idea to piece a film together that could not only intrigue a passersby of the genre but allows the space to create some great kill scenes for all the gore lovers within the community.
Unsuccessfully, “Blood Bound” takes this simple concept and complicates it with poor dialogue, forcing some of the characters to sound like simplistic imbeciles and even at times offering up repetitive lines which make them sound like arguing children. The best example of this would be the opening argument between Kerry and her father Sheriff Martin Sparks.
As the story progresses, the film seems to continue with the childlike theme but this time, treating the viewers as such with the repetition of lines, ideas and even go as far as taking the easy way out with finding a solution of how to stop the witches.
Slight spoiler here, one of the characters just happens to find out that these antagonists are witches alongside a means to stopping them thanks to a quick google search. This is a fine use for something that could require a simple answer but when you’re dealing with witchcraft and magic, I highly doubt the answer is going to be randomly sitting somewhere on a random website with no explanation as to how it got there.
Just to use the necronomicon from “Evil Dead” as a small example. Ash was not simply able to piece together the solution on his own but it was shown and explained to viewers that the owner of the cabin was in the process of translating the book in order to explain its mysteries. It’s a simple explanation but effective to the point that you aren’t going to question it.
As much as I would like to say that this film had some originality to it, the topic of sacrifices has been played out quite a bit and although they provide a fair twist in the final act, it still wasn’t enough to save the film.
In all honesty, this has the look and feel of a “Twilight” film with the typical vampires and werewolves being replaced by witches and demons. This look and feel is on full display any time in which Kerry and lead antagonist David are on screen together. These scenes just have that sparkly vampire and his pale girlfriend vibe being thrown into your face.
This does not add anything more to the story and is, in all actuality, nothing more than a confusing relationship which just complicates the story line and prevents anything of interest from happening.
As much as this film bore me, it’s lack of proper sound editing was the real nail in the coffin. Had there been an amazing soundtrack or something remotely catchy, it may have made a slight difference for some people. Personally, the fact that half the time if someone spoke in a lower register, it would be nearly impossible to hear it.
After having to backtrack multiple times to try and understand what was being said, I just gave up and let these inaudible lines pass me by without any additional questions.
As for a high point, “Blood Bound” had some definite beauty in a fair amount of its shots, most of which were crisp, clean and surrounded by beautiful outdoor scenery.
There is one small flaw in the third act however. This would be the scene where we get the better kills of the movie, including gore, a splash of horrible acting and our first real look at the demon in question. The reason I bring it up in the cinematography department is because throughout these specific scenes, the quality of the film seemed to drop dramatically. This could possibly be an issue they had with lighting during production as they were filming in the woods at night and had to find a way to make the scene more visible while in post or it could have been a simple change in equipment used. I’m uncertain as to what it was which may have caused the issue but it was very apparent that something was off.
In a word, tame would be the best singular term I can use to describe “Blood Bound” as it leaves nothing to the imagination and although the aforementioned gory kill scene was pretty good, the actors portraying the terror and agony are not able to sell to me that they are in danger nor on the verge of death which essentially ruins the effect altogether.
This minor factor does pale in comparison however to the rest of the films dialogue, sound issues and simpatico storyline. The thing that really ruined it for me was the fact that the film treats its viewers like unintelligent children with the overuse of explaining simple things and being lazy by using the internet search as an escape from working up a proper solution to the protagonists issues.
It’s either highly insulting to think that genre fans are that stupid or just plain laughable that the person who pieced this together figured hey would just bypass a part of their job and claimed a quick search resulted in the answers they required in order to defeat an ancient supernatural entity. Regardless of the answer, I suggest that veteran genre fans avoid “Blood Bound” as they will likely have the same reactions I’ve had watching it.
I could see myself having enjoyed it more if I was younger or a fan of the “Twilight” series but as an adult who breaks films down for a semi-living, it wasn’t able to do anything but insult my intelligence as a horror film fan.
My final thought would be that this is great for kids who are starting to get into the genre, as long as whomever is showing them the film are fine with adult themes, drugs and drinking. Other than that, it should be a fair tool to get them into horror with.
Overall Rating 3.6 / 10
This week on Beyond The Void Horror Podcast They finish off the Critters franchise this week with Critters 3 & 4. One taking place in a city and one back to space! Will Alex & Britni survive the porcupines hunger? Listen to them descend into hell. It’s a big week and you are invited! You can listen here or you can Listen/Subscribe on iTunes here!