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Bloodline (2018): An Uneven but Ultimately Fun Ride

I’ll be honest, I was following Bloodline (2018) since the moment I heard about it. It sounded like Dexter and Seann William Scott in the role of a serial killer was very intriguing to me. Then, like most things, I completely forgot about it until I was browsing through Netflix a few weeks ago. So, naturally, I gave it a watch.

It was also one of those perfect storms in the sense that, since I forgot about it, I never looked up anything about it. Sure, I’ve heard about it being like Dexter and such, but nothing with spoilers. I’ll say right now that it is similar to Dexter. More on that one later. I’ll just be talking about a few things I liked, a few things I didn’t like, and then I’ll be rating it with a score out of 10 at the end.

Bloodline is the feature directorial debut of Henry Jacobson and it stars Seann William Scott (American Pie, Goon, Role Models), Mariela Garriga, and Dale Dickey. It’s essentially about a new, sleep-deprived father that works as a social worker but also moonlights as a serial killer and decides to exact his form of justice on abusive family members of the teenagers he counsels.

The Pros

Evan stands in an abandoned house prepping for a kill.

Firstly, the biggest thing to stand out in this is definitely the acting. Sean William Scott absolutely rocks his performance and impresses throughout the entirety of the movie. Everybody’s performance is at worst above average, and that makes the drama and thrills pop. I was sucked into this film from start to finish despite the gripes that I have with it. Another stand out performance is Kevin Carroll as Detective Overstreet. The gravity he brings to the table whenever he’s on-screen is stunning.

Another must-mention piece of the movie is the music. There’s something about the synthy ’80s vibe it brings out that gets the adrenaline pumping within me. It’s punchy, and I found myself nodding my head to the beat as it was playing. It sounds a lot like something Twitch streamer Dr. Disrespect would be playing between Warzone matches. It’s incredible and high-octane. The timing of when the music kicks in is very meticulous and well placed. There was a lot of care and work that was put into just the timing of the music, and I applaud it.

The pacing isn’t necessarily the best, but it’s not bad. I’m putting it under pros because it’s more of a pro than a con in this case. The scenes have a bit of a flash to them in the sense that the cuts are very distinct and, for the most part, well-timed. There’s really not much to say that goes too in-depth about the pace; it just works. (Ten points for you if you get that reference.)

Next up has to be the comparison to Dexter. It’s an obvious one, and, honestly, it’s pretty spiritually connected to the hit Showtime series. Both Dexter and Evan have rituals when it comes to killing. Similarly, when they have their victims secured, they confront them about their wrongdoings. They have a conversation with their victim and pry answers out of them and their reasonings for their actions. Furthermore, they both have a specific spot they dispose of the bodies and get rid of any evidence. If there is no inspiration drawn from Dexter here, I’d be surprised.

The Cons

Evan gesturing for his victim to stay quiet.

As far as the cons go, there are definitely a few distinct ones, the first being how uneven the tone of the movie is. It switches on a dime, and sometimes it’s very offputting and throws off the flow of the scenes. It can go from brooding and dark right into being a little lighter and, for the lack of a better term, not so serious. It’s distracting to see the shifts in tone when you’re immersed in one scene and get thrown right into a complete 180 in the next. It seems like some scenes might’ve been cut for time, and that can be detrimental to the flow of the film.

Also, there’s a pretty sizeable amount of predictability. I could see more than a few moments coming from the obvious foreshadowing and the not-so-subtle convenience of other moments in scenes. That’s not to say that the whole movie is predictable, but I’d argue that the majority of the big reveals in the movie were sort of ruined by how blatant the set up was.

One of the most confusing parts of my viewing was how they tried to throw Evan’s backstory in seemingly random spots of the movie. It’s probably the biggest detractor of how awkward a lot of the scenes bleed into one another—a very big detractor. I understand the reasoning of having a backstory, but I don’t understand the reasoning for the placement of the tidbits of information throughout the film. When I talked about the uneven tone, this is mostly what I meant. If they could’ve only found a better way to get the backstory in there, it would’ve served the film better and would’ve made the watch a lot more smooth and seamless.

The Conclusion

Evan confronts one of his victims.

Look, Bloodline isn’t even close to being a perfect movie. That’s okay, though. It’s a pretty good slasher/crime-drama that has some amazing performances and flashes of brilliance. It serves as a movie for Sean William Scott to really shine and show off his acting chops—which he does, very well. It’s almost like a bad pizza. Is it really that bad? No. It’s still delicious in its own right. In a way, it’s a metaphor for parenthood and how crazy it can make you feel when you have a newborn (so I’ve heard).

If you’re looking for a well-acted, semi-tense movie to watch in these troubling times to entertain you for the duration of the watch, Bloodline fits the bill. It shows that Sean William Scott could’ve easily played Dexter as well as Michael C. Hall. Controversial opinion? Maybe. Is it true? I think so. Either way, you should watch this movie and escape the real world for 90 minutes.

Rating: 6.8/10. That’s a review.

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Written by Bronson West

Bronson fell in love with horror (mainly slashers) at the age of 6 when he watched Halloween at his babysitter's. Fitting, right? He also thinks he's funny, but apparently that's up for debate.

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