REVIEW: Blood Hunters
– By Dave Dubrow
BLOOD HUNTERS is one of those movies I wanted to like more than I did. Don’t get me wrong: it’s an enjoyable film, with mystery, pathos, and scares, but the decent performances couldn’t quite elevate the uneven plot as high as it needed to go. This will be someone’s favorite film of the year, no doubt, but it wasn’t mine.
The story mixes the familiar with some interesting twists: single mother Ellie collapses from a drug overdose and wakes up in a hospital that’s full of horrific monsters that hunt for…wait for it…blood. Oh, and she’s nine months pregnant, despite not having been in a family way prior to her collapse. She meets other people, stumbles over dead bodies, and horror hijinks ensue.
Everyone acted convincingly, despite some of the rather ludicrous things they had to do (at one point, a guy had to cauterize the bitten-off stump of his hand on a cafeteria grill, but his wrist-meat got stuck, so another guy had to use a spatula to peel it off, for example). Julian Richings, the actor who played Death in Supernatural, did a creepy turn as an evil priest. Remember Torri Higginson, who played Dr Elizabeth Weir in Stargate Atlantis? She was effective as a cynical IT tech here. (I’m sure Ms. Higginson’s been in lots of stuff since, but pseudo-intellectuals like myself don’t watch a lot of TV.) Lara Gilchrist as pregnant protagonist Ellie and Benjamin Arthur as able ally Henry were blandly capable and spoke their occasionally funny dialogue well.
Today’s horror fans will likely enjoy the depiction of the priest, as he’s consistent with typical entertainment representations of clergy: evil, dishonest, cowardly, and bumbling. For a movie that touches on religious themes, it’s unfortunate that the plot had to descend to such unbelievably overused tropes, but it’s easier than researching theology and ethics to create a more credible character.
The protagonist isn’t a very nice person, which made the story work well. The plot moved forward because of individual incompetence and general fear: the characters weren’t skilled, courageous experts, but scared people who just wanted to survive, which added realism to the story. It’s just a pity that nobody knew how to tie a tourniquet to save that one guy from cooking himself on the grill.
Again, Blood Hunters is a decent horror film, and I liked it. But you can get the same kind of fare from Hollywood. Wouldn’t you prefer something different, something that pushes a boundary or two? That’s where independent film can really shine, and this one didn’t.