Friday, November 6, 2020

Blood Vessel (2020)

Streaming Services: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Blood Vessel (2020)
Genre: Horror
Length: 93 minutes
Rating: TV-MA
Production/Distribution: Rock Island Films, Storm Vision Entertainment, SunJive Studios, Wicked of Oz Studios, Shaw Organisation, Entertainment Squad, The Horror Collective, Umbrella Entertainment
Director: Justin Dix
Writer: Justin Dix, Jordan Prosser
Actors: Nathan Phillips, Alyssa Sutherland, Robert Taylor, Christopher Kirby, Alex Cooke, Mark Diaco, John Lloyd Fillingham, Troy Larkin, Vivienne Perry, Ruby Isobel Hall
Blurb from IMDb: Somewhere in the North Atlantic, late 1945. A life raft adrift at sea, and in it, the survivors of a torpedoed hospital ship: With no food, water, or shelter, all seems lost - until an abandoned German minesweeper drifts ominously towards them, giving them one last chance at survival.

Selina’s Point of View:
There are some things I really liked about this film and some things that put me off.
Let’s start with the good.
I absolutely adore that they took inspiration from the Romanian folklore involving Strigoi. For those of you less familiar with it, that basically means they returned to a more Nosferatu (1922) style of vampire.
Don’t get me wrong, I read the Anita Blake series. Sexy vampires can work. In films, however, I prefer my blood suckers to be frightening and monstrous. They did that in Blood Vessel.
The film also took a lot of inspiration from legendary flicks like Alien (1979) and The Thing (1982). It really dove right into that uncertain, unfamiliar, claustrophobia that both other movies brought to life.

That’s where my enjoyment ends, though.
Outside of the concept, there was very little depth. There were severe continuity issues and they dove hard into zombie film tropes – taking all the bad and none of the good. On top of that, very little happened on screen until half way through.
Then, there was so little contrast on the screen that – even with my brightness turned to max – it was hard to make out what was happening at times.
There were also about two likeable characters and the ending turned super campy – which didn’t match the rest of the flick.
I wanted to like Blood Vessel. Unfortunately, I found it to be mediocre at best.

Cat’s Point of View:
I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of a ghost ship. Of course, that generally ties in with the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle – but that’s not what we’re dealing with in this movie. This WWII era story is vampire flick, rather than a flight of phantasm.
In that way, Blood Vessel sets itself apart from other nautical disaster films. It lacks the spirits of Ghost Ship (2002), or the far-fetched action-gore of Deep Rising (1998). It rests somewhere in the happy middle of the supernatural range.
At first, I was concerned that this film might be a bit campy – quite a few protagonists vs. Nazi tropes tend to call for such. I was very relieved to find that was not the case here. The Nazi element was mostly setting, atmosphere, and background – both literal and thematic.

The cast sold their performances well. I bought in on the mixed bag of shipwreck survivors and their differing perspectives. The writing felt solid and I really appreciated the little details here and there.
While this obviously didn’t have a blockbuster budget, I think they did very well with both the effects and the decision to film on an actual ship rather than a soundstage mockup. Visuals were clearly a deft blend of practical with some understated digital enhancement.
What can I say – I’m a sucker for a story that has roots in folklore. In this case, it is Romanian lore and I adored it all the way through to the jaw-dropping ending. I wouldn’t hesitate to steer anyone with a Shudder subscription in the direction of this movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 70%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 21%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.2/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5
Movie Trailer:

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