PLOT: Haunted by dark memories of childhood abuse, Evan, a social worker, and first-time dad, struggles to keep his need for revenge in check.
REVIEW: I don’t know how many of you know this about me or not, but I’m about to be a father for the first time. In fact, as of this writing, my little bundle of joy has yet to arrive, but she will be here, no doubt, by the time you’re reading this. At least I hope so. And it is with this new era of my life forthcoming that I jumped at the chance to check out first-time director Henry Jacobson’s psychological Blumhouse horror movie BLOODLINE. After all, the basic plot rundown centers on a serial killer (played by Seann William Scott) dealing with having HIS first child. Seems right up my alley at this point in time, am I right? Hell, yeah. So let’s find out what this daddy-to-be thought of BLOODLINE.
First off, let it be known for those of you that might try and peep this flick with the kiddos still awake, the movie kicks off with strong graphic nudity and violence. I’m talking a full-naked nurse in the shower getting her throat slashed in brutal and bloody fashion. But this isn’t all fun and games. This brutal sequence becomes a BIG plot point later on… but let’s not get into that here. Instead let’s move on, as the movie does, and cut back in time a month or so to when Seann William Scott’s wife was still pregnant. As is the way in this circle of life, his wife gives birth (in full-on graphic close-ups) and boom the plot emerges: don’t mess with Mama and/or Baby and you just might make it out of this killer’s world still breathing. Maybe.
From there, we find out the man works as a guidance counselor at a local high school, and this is where he finds his victim pool. Not from the kids, mind you. But from their abusive parents. You see our “hero” had an abusive daddy himself and so bad fathers are kind of his meat and potatoes, so to speak. Now, after his baby is born Papa Scott tries – for like a day – to keep his killer instincts under wraps. But then his mother (played by the stellar Dale Dickey) tries to comfort him and tells him that he can’t take proper care of his wife and his newborn baby boy if he doesn’t take care of himself. As you might imagine, Scott takes this the semi-wrong way and gets back to what he does best: killin’ folks.
And that’s the plot. For the most part. What I mean is that I’m not going to get into the plot any further as the first half gets repetitive. Sean William Scott kills someone, goes home and deals with his wife and newborn, some kid comes to his office complaining about their father, Scott kidnaps and kills the bad daddy. Wash and repeat. But then about halfway through, the movie takes a turn and presents a twist that changes everything. And then it’s all downhill (in a good way) from there. But again, we’re not here today to ruin the plot. So let’s just move on to talking about what works in the flick.
First and foremost, I’m a big fan of how this movie looks. Blue and pink lighting seem to be it’s go-to and that’s fine by me as it worked gangbusters. Past the vibrant lighting, the movie’s visual style was slickly handled. That might not mean a lot to some (or most) viewers but it always pleases this guy. Old school zooms are coupled with stylish flashbacks that look like they were shot on super 8 and more. Overall, the movie really seems to tap into the look and feel of a modern Giallo. And so, fittingly, the film’s score goes the synth route. Sure we’ve been seeing (or, you know, hearing) synth scores more often than not in genre films these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad score. Far from it. I grooved to the music time and time again and wouldn’t mind owning the soundtrack one of these days.
So remember the brutal opening slaying of the nurse I mentioned above? Sure you do. Does the movie keep up with that level of blood and brutality all the way through? That’s a big 10-4. In fact, the movie is pretty uncompromising in its gore and brutality. Not only do we get to see a baby born in full NC-17 close-up, but the shots are cut together with images flashing through our lead’s mind – images of how a baby’s head spilling out of a woman’s body sure as hell looks a lot like intestines spilling out of a man’s stomach. Real appetizing. But appropriate, I’d say.
In the end, some of this stuff really hit home with me. The new dad stuff, I mean. Not so much, you know, the serial killer stuff. So this leads me to think I might enjoy the flick a bit more than others. But probably not. After all, the movie presents enough twists and turns and solid performances to make it worth recommending. Plus, I think everyone should see the movie just so you can finally get a good glimpse at just how solid an actress Dale Dickey is.
BLOODLINE premiered at Fantastic Fest last September. Momentum Pictures drops it in theaters, Digital and On-Demand on September 20, 2019.