Bad movies are a dime a dozen. Most movies that are produced are, in fact, bad. Then there are the movies so bad that they defy logic on every practical level. The new horror film from first-time writer-director Stuart Sauvarin, Blood is Blood, is an astoundingly inept piece of storytelling on every conceivable level. Blood is Blood is the type of movie that borders on the avant garde with its nonsensical plotting and late twists that also make no sense. The only thing that Blood is Blood is able to do with any sense of competence is some passable shot compositions that are in focus. Other than that, this film is a head-scratcher for all of its 70-odd minutes.
After a cold open of a young girl encountering a chamber of horrors in the basement, one that isn’t fully explained until the film’s conclusion, we’re introduced to Brie (Fiona Douriff) as she’s presenting a toast to her brother, Crew (Daniel DiTomasso), and his fiancé Sara (Kate French) at an engagement party. Also in attendance is her sister Jess (Caitlin Harris) and her other brother Daniel (Andrew James Allen). Even though this is supposedly a party and a happy occasion everyone in attendance acts as if they’re at a funeral. The good mood is soon ruined when Brie is attacked in the night by a masked assailant. Luckily for her, she’s able to thwart her attacker with a shard of glass jabbed right into his neck. As the masked assailant bleeds out, gasping for air, the mask is removed only to reveal that it was Crew.
Sometime later, Brie is a mental institution where she’s haunted by the masked figure that was her slain brother. Violent marks on her body convince her that she’s not crazy, but Jess doesn’t quite believe her impassioned pleas. Meanwhile, Crew’s fiancé Sara has slipped into an almost catatonic state, making countless pieces of the fox origami that Crew once gave to her. Looking out for Sara is Daniel, who not only obsesses over his dead brother’s fiancé but also spends his evening as a crossdressing psycho killer. The continued trauma that Brie experiences, though, leads her to escape and seek answers, suspecting that Sara might very well be behind her torment. What Brie discovers, however, will not please anyone involved.
More than once while watching my screener of Blood is Blood, I had to rewind the movie to replay certain reveals to see if I missed any details that might add some semblance of sense to the film’s proceedings. That was a mistake. No matter how many times you rewind sections of the movie, it’ll never make the least bit of sense. Perhaps sensing this, Sauvarin ensures that the last ten minutes of the movie will explain the pertinent details to little avail. The big problem facing Blood is Blood is the fact that the film wants to get into the gory aspects of this twisted family without taking the time to provide these characters with, you know, characteristics. They’re all interchangeable sullen mopes with varying degrees of mental illness, none of which is handled with the least bit of nuance.
None of the actors involved in Blood is Blood do much to stand out, and I’m not going to take the time to besmirch the efforts of young actors scrapping by to make a living. I’ll just say that whatever they were going for certainly didn’t work, but they weren’t given much to work with to begin with.
Aside from a script and story structure that makes absolutely zero sense, writer-director Stuart Sauvarin doesn’t wholly embarrass himself. His shot compositions are sound and he’s able to put multiple shots together that the film isn’t as chaotic visually as it is structurally. It’s truly a shame that Sauvarin’s story structure undermines his ability as a director so thoroughly, as Blood is Blood might’ve had some genuinely creepy or shocking moments if the audience weren’t asking themselves “What in the hell is going on?” throughout the entire movie.
I take no pleasure in trashing the efforts of a first-time director. It’s hard to get all the pieces in place to make a movie and then suffer the indignity of some layabout online saying it’s no good. But the fact is, Blood is Blood isn’t a good movie. It doesn’t achieve its most basic goals. Plenty of excellent filmmakers have started out with an inept little horror movie, and for many it’s a learning experience from which it’s a starting point of an illustrious career. I hope that Stuart Sauvarin falls into that category. He’s got a decent eye, if only he can get his writing to match.
Blood is Blood
A bewildering, astonishingly inept piece of storytelling, Blood is Blood features more confusion than thrills in this would-be horror flick.