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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Review: Blood Bags

Director: Emiliano Ranzani
Guion: Emiliano Ranzani, Davide Mela y Scarlett Amaris
Año: 2019

In a conversation about Italian horror, most horror fans will think of names such as Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, and Umberto Lenzi. These legendary directors created a particular style of cinema, characterized by plenty of violence and grotesque special effects, especially the films of Fulci. “Blood Bags” revives this graphic style that marked an epoch and makes us miss these productions.

Tracy is a young American photography student living in Turin. Along with her friend Petra, one day they get into an old mansion that seemed to be abandoned to take some photographs of its interior. Shortly after getting in, they realize that the mansion was not abandoned, rather it was inhabited by a dangerous creature that feeds on blood.

The movie starts with a definition of Gunther’s disease that suggests that the movie will take a path that ends up not exploring. With this definition and the description of the movie, it seems like it would be a vampire flick, but it never gets deep into this topic and always keeps on the margin only giving the creature some of the characteristics of vampires. Instead, it goes on to mix slasher and creature feature movies, which was somewhat unexpected.

In his directorial debut, Emiliano Razani (“The Theater Bizarre”) bases the story that he co-writes along with Davide Mela (“I’m Here”) and Scarlett Amaris (“The Theater Bizarre”) in the city of Turin in Italy. The location helps the cinematography thanks to the look and imposingness of the old buildings, as well as the interior of the sinister mansion. Another detail that the director takes care of is that the dialogues between locals are in Italian, something that gives a lot of realism to the story.

The visual aspect is where “Body Bags” stands out. Since the opening scene, we see excellent practical effects in the gore, that unfortunately are not all that present in the movie and it resents it. In a similar way, the make-up of the creature is exceptional, and its presence is only used timely, avoiding that its looks lose strength by being overexposed. 

Where this movie is weaker is in the interpretations. While most of the cast does a good job, the acting of Makenna Gulyer (“The Barge People”) and Marta Tananyan, interpreting the friend Tracy and Petra, are weak and lack credibility. The interpretation of Guyler, who spends the most time on the screen and is who we follow most of the time, improves when the plot goes from exploring the more personal side to presenting her terror, but still, it damages the quality of the movie.

“Blood Bags” reminds us of the classic Italian horror cinema, but more for what it promises that for what it delivers. Some more graphic violence and better use of the vampiric concept would have elevated its already well-done production. Without being a gem of Italian cinema, it mixes the slasher sub-genre with that of creatures to provide an interesting movie with an impressive creature and some unexpected twists.

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