Review by Sean Boelman
The role of religion within the horror genre is quite interesting, and although some of these references are more overt than others, films that address these themes almost always capitalize on the audience’s fear of the unknown. Daniel Tucker’s indie horror Nothing But the Blood does just that, becoming a quite strong chiller as a result.
The movie follows a journalist in a small town who is tasked with covering the opening of a controversial new church, not expecting that the decision to do so would come to affect her life in a violent way. A blend of different ideas and tropes from various subgenres, the story may not be entirely original, but Tucker does these familiar things in an interesting enough way for it to feel fresh nevertheless.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the film is that the timeline is relatively messy to an extent that is almost distracting. The first thirty minutes are gripping, as the viewer tries to figure out exactly what the story is going to become, and for the most part, it is able to hold that intrigue as it becomes clear.
However, when the movie jumps forward a period of years, it loses much of its momentum in terms of both suspense and character arcs. There is a bit of disbelief caused by the time jump, but more frustrating is the fact that it feels like an entire section is missing in terms of the characterization.
The protagonist is compelling in both the first and the second half, but unfortunately, the clear partition results in her almost feeling like two separate characters. Rachel Hudson’s empathetic performance goes a long way in making the character feel authentic, but the range she is asked to provide is so extremely divided that the movie almost falls apart.
And while subtlety certainly isn’t the word to describe Tucker’s approach to his ideas, the film still manages to be quite thought-provoking without being overly preachy. Les Best’s performance as the radical minister at the head of the group is absolutely terrifying, making the threat feel very real.
The low budget of the movie is certainly evident in the execution, but Tucker turns this limitation into a strength, building suspense through the performances and atmosphere. There are a handful of brutal sequences, and they look really good, but the use of blood and gore is kept to a minimum so as to allow the other elements to shine.
Nothing But the Blood is a perfect example of the charms of indie horror. Rough around the edges and occasionally a bit heavy-handed, but enjoyable and well-acted, this is sure to be a pleasant surprise for fans of the genre.
Nothing But the Blood hits VOD on August 4.
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