A spree of home invasions, ritual sacrifice, a coven of witches and the demon they worship. Richard LeMay’s supernatural slow-burner has a lot to get off its chest, and its tale of small-town teenagers and their grotesque family dynamics is an ambitious one, pounding with mood and atmosphere.
After breaking into the wrong household and picking on the wrong family, would-be home invader Kerry and her pals find themselves at the mercy of a family of Satanists, whose supernatural powers render them helpless and immobile. Kerry (Eden Brolin, daughter of Thanos Brolin) becomes deeply embroiled in their family life when she is raped and impregnated by the family’s son, David. Bargaining with demons for supernatural powers comes at a price and, for this family, that price is baby sacrifice.
Thankfully, the truly unpleasant stuff is handled with sensitivity, and Blood Bound is a far cry from the lurid rape-and-torture nightmare it could so easily have been in the wrong hands. While this is a dark film with difficult themes, LeMay favours atmosphere over exploitation and handles his ideas carefully, not lingering for too long on the unpleasantries. Instead, the emphasis is on character, the human psyche and the evil that man does in the pursuit of power.
Unfortunately, where Blood Bound is careful not to be insensitive, it also tends to be too subtle for its own good, and the story is a downright slog at times. Despite all of the home invasions, witches, sacrifices, demons, and even a spot of incest, none of it hits the mark like it should and it’s difficult to care about any of it. It has the atmosphere nailed, but there’s no tension, scares or anything beyond the surface level ick-factor to back up the film’s strong ideas and themes.
That it never really catches on is a shame, since it’s impeccably acted and well-written, and looks good for a film of its size and budget. Lacking the unsettling scares of Hereditary or the vvierd occult vibes of The VVitch, it’s all rather flat, and so it falls, a slow, dull work of bleak horror with brains, ambition and overflowing with ideas, but lacking in style.
BLOOD BOUND / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: RICHARD LeMAY / STARRING: EDEN BROLIN, ROSA ARREDONDO, TIMOTHY HUGHES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW