Review by Joseph Fayed
January is not typically a month where newly released horror films are well-received. Released at the beginning of the year before awards season, they are usually swept under the rug and easily forgotten about until the next box office hit comes around. While this January has had two notable exceptions in M3GAN and Missing, Blood ends the month with a family horror that is neither scary nor very interesting.
The film follows mother and nurse Jess (Michelle Monaghan), who moves to a farmhouse following her divorce from her husband (Skeet Ulrich), with whom she shares joint custody of their two children. After a tragic accident involving their dog, Owen, the son, begins developing a dependency on drinking blood. Jess goes to extreme lengths to help treat her son while endangering herself and others in the process.
Despite the plot having a lot at stake for Jess and her son, the film is not very suspenseful. Jess is almost immediately introduced as a mother who has grown apart from her kids. Jess and her ex-husband trade insults with each other whenever they interact. Her addiction struggles are also revealed early, setting this up to be important to her character arc. Yet, ultimately her struggles are largely sidelined in favor of her son. The problem is her son is mostly uninteresting. His newfound craving for blood mostly has him moaning for more of it. The obvious conflict of how he can control his urges is mainly left unanswered.
At surface level, this film has similarities to Let the Right One In or its American remake Let Me In. Both deal with a young vampire-esque child and those around them, trying to protect the child from harmful outside forces. You feel a sense of loneliness coming from the characters in those films, but in Blood, we don't get to learn how Owen copes independently of either of his parents. His thoughts are made known to us by a protagonist who is meant to be distant from her own kids.
The gore scenes are also few and far between. I was more focused on the bad use of special effects to turn a character's eyes into a different color than any actual killing going on. There were no thrills in this, it was clear the script was watered down to focus more on the family elements of the film, but even those were poorly written beyond the first 30 minutes. In Blood, we are introduced to a family, and over 90 minutes later, all I can take away is now they have a blood-sucking child living under their roof.
Blood hits theaters on January 27 and VOD on January 31.