Blood Puts a Cool New Spin on Vampires

I first heard about Blood a month ago, and I’ve been itching to see it ever since. The film’s trailer made it look like a cool new take on vampires, and as a huge fan of these monsters, I was instantly intrigued. In fact, one of the reasons I love vampires so much is that they’re so malleable, so any time I hear about a fresh approach to this time-honored subgenre, it rockets up my most-anticipated list. So naturally, I just had to watch Blood as soon as I could, and after finally getting the chance to check it out, I’m happy to report that it does not disappoint.

Blood was directed by Brad Anderson, and it stars Michelle Monaghan, Skeet Ulrich, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, and Skylar Morgan Jones. It centers around a recently divorced nurse named Jess who moves into a new house with her kids Tyler and Owen, and at first, the new place seems fine. However, one day, the family’s dog Pippin runs away and goes missing for a while, and when it comes back, it bites Owen and almost kills him.

Luckily, Jess is able to get the dog off her son and take the kid to the hospital in time to save his life, but that’s just the beginning of their problems. It soon becomes clear that Owen can no longer ingest normal human food. Instead, he has to drink blood to survive, and like any good mother, Jess is determined to give him what he needs. She begins stealing blood from the hospital where she works, but when she realizes that’s not enough, she turns to, shall we say, alternative methods of obtaining human blood for her son.

As I’m sure you can tell from that plot synopsis, Blood is essentially one big moral question: how far would you go for the people you love? It’s all about what Jess is willing to do to help Owen deal with his unusual condition, and right from the get-go, I found it captivating.

A boy with blood on his face.

For starters, the acting in this film is pretty good, so the main characters are all really likable. Most notably, Michelle Monaghan gives it her all as Jess, and she’s fantastic. She makes it abundantly clear just how much this woman is struggling to keep it together and raise her kids, and that in turn makes it super easy for us to sympathize with the character and root for her.

Similarly, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong and Skylar Morgan Jones, the actors who play Owen and Tyler, are way better than your typical hit-or-miss child actors. Granted, they’re not quite as good as Michelle Monaghan, but I still really enjoyed their performances, and I came to love their characters very quickly.

Finally, we have Skeet Ulrich, who plays Jess’s ex-husband Patrick. Patrick is engaged in a somewhat bitter legal battle with Jess over custody of their kids, and to be honest, this was the one character I could’ve done without. Don’t get me wrong, Skeet Ulrich is good in the role, and I enjoyed seeing him whenever he was on screen, but I don’t think he added much to the story.

Sure, Patrick and Jess’s legal battle introduces another layer to Jess’s struggle to stay afloat, but aside from a couple of moments in the very beginning and very end of the movie, I never really felt the weight of that battle. It kind of fades into the background for most of the film’s runtime, so even though I didn’t mind this element of the movie, I also don’t think it made much of an impact on the story. Blood would’ve been almost exactly the same if Jess was a single mother without this problem, so adding in an ex-husband felt completely unnecessary.

But in the grand scheme of things, that’s a relatively minor complaint, so on the whole, I really enjoyed all four of these characters. There’s not a single weak link in this main cast, so I always enjoyed watching them do their thing.

Two kids and a dog looking dirty

That being said, the characters aren’t the best thing about Blood. By far, my favorite thing about this movie is seeing Jess commit unspeakable crimes to provide Owen with the blood he needs in order to survive. I’m not going to spoil exactly what she does (although I’m sure you can more or less figure it out!), but I will say that it gets pretty disturbing.

Granted, Jess doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen in other movies, and nothing in this film struck me as particularly gory or gruesome. Instead, the movie excels at making her victims just as sympathetic as she is, and that allows the horror to get under your skin in a way a lot of other films can’t.

What’s more, Blood also uses Michelle’s monstrous behavior to convey a surprisingly touching message about human dignity. In its portrayal of Jess as a monster, the movie simultaneously shows us that human life is always valuable, no matter how pointless or meaningless a particular person’s existence may seem to others, and as a big advocate for human dignity, I really appreciated that.

Last but not least, let’s talk a bit about the film’s vampire, Owen. As I said, for most of Blood’s runtime, Jess is the real monster of this story, but Owen gets his time to shine too. Again, I’m not going to spoil exactly what he does, but I will say that I had a good time watching him vamp out. To be fair, I think his monstrous moments could’ve used a bit more violence and gore, but I’m still pretty happy with what we got.

So all in all, if you’re looking for some good new horror to watch, I’d definitely recommend checking out Blood. It has likable characters, excellent horror, and a couple of cool vampire scenes, so even though it has a few small issues, it’s still a really good film that’s more than worth your time.

Blood is currently available on VOD and in very limited theaters.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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