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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Review: Bloodline

Director: Henry Jacobson
Screenplay: Avra Fox-Lerner, Will Honley, and Henry Jacobson
Year: 2019

Being a parent is for many a life goal, but it’s no easy task. Forming a family involves a great personal and social responsibility, starting by instilling family values to this new individual that joins the society. The screenplay of novice writes Avra Fox-Lerner, Will Honley (“The Hive”), and Henry Jacobson, directed as his first feature film by Henry Jacobson shows this responsibility and the importance of maintaining the family values alive and the family united, even in the worst adversity.

Evan (Seann William Scott; “American Pie”) is a social worker that worries about the well-being of the students he counsels and seems to be an exemplary man. After the birth of his first child, the stress between him and his wife raises and he must resort to his favorite hobby to calm his anxiety, which is killing people that don’t meet his societal and parenting standards. When his hobby spirals out of control, his family starts to be at risk and for him, there is nothing more important than protecting his family. 

Although “Bloodline” explores several family-related topics, it is not a family movie, and this is made clear before the first three minutes of the film had gone by. In these first minutes, we witness a murder in a shower, that seems like a wink to the classic “Psycho”, by an anonymous author that shows that this movie will be graphic, and by graphic, I mean very graphic. The atmosphere, tone, and how explicit it will be are established in this scene.

The director, as well as the screenwriters, have little experience in their respective roles, but they create a movie that seems to have been done by experts. The visual choice of using saturated red and blue colors reminds of the best times of Italian Giallo cinema that compliments with poise the mysterious tone that lingers throughout the whole movie. Retrospectives (some of them lasting only a fraction of a second) and montages (the one near the end is awesome) are used greatly to put the viewer in perspective of the presented situation. On top of that, the electronic music in the background makes “Bloodline” an audiovisual experience, besides what it does with its narrative.

If behind the cameras the work is exceptional, in front of them this quality is maintained. The cast does a terrific job, led by a Seann William Scott in what could be the best interpretation of his career. Being used to see him in comedies like “American Pie” or in unimportant roles as in “Final Destination” make you underestimate his talent as an actor, but in this movie he makes us remember what he is capable of doing. Mariela Garriga (“Nightmare Cinema”) and Dale Dickey (“The Pledge”) as his wife Lauren and his mother Marie, respectively, complement the plot and the work of Scott with their excellent interpretations.

“Bloodline” a collaboration between Divide/Conquer, Mind Hive Films, and Blumhouse Productions, presents a plot where topics of family, problems, and abuses in it and family union predominate. The lack of experience of the director and screenwriters in their respective tasks doesn’t affect at all what ends up being this movie in its audiovisual and narrative capacity. Only the ending feels like it’s slightly below the quality of the rest of the movie, but still is an impactful one and serves as good closure.  The plot is interesting, the visuals are captivating, and the acting is impressive. The only thing left to be said is that this is an undervalued gem that more horror fans deserve to watch.

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