Reviews | Written by Sol Harris 07/01/2019

DRY BLOOD

Dry Blood follows Brian Barnes (Clint Carney), a struggling drug addict who decides to get clean by going to stay in his remote holiday home, essentially forcing himself to give everything up, cold turkey. As Brian enters withdrawal, he starts being plagued by ghosts - presumably all the result of his hallucinating mind - particularly once he’s joined by another character who doesn’t see any of them.

Sadly, that’s the extent of the film’s plot. It takes 20 minutes before anything remotely spooky happens to anyone and a further 40 before the ghosts behave even remotely malevolently. Even then, the film never seems to want you to think that these might be real ghosts as opposed to the fruits of Brian’s drugged-up mind, so it’s still difficult to care about anything - especially given how often the film enjoys pulling the old “that was all just a dream” trick.

As you’d expect, the nature of the ghosts becomes more ambiguous as the film progresses, but the results are less of a clever attempt to mess with the viewer’s head or convey a filmic portrait of drug-addled mania and more just bafflingly incomprehensible. Ultimately, the darker the film gets, the more unintentionally funny it becomes and you’re eventually left feeling little more than you’ve wasted your time.

Had the film been presented just as an “Inception-esque” movie, designed to make you question the very nature of reality, it could potentially have at least worked as a nice character piece, but even then it would likely have fallen flat because the characters are all either completely two-dimensional or so bland and uninteresting that they barely qualify as characters at all.

The most interesting character is an unnamed policeman portrayed by Kelton Jones. Despite being one of the film’s major players, he’s so cartoonishly and unjustifiably antagonistic towards Barnes that you keep waiting for the twist-reveal that the ghosts are all real, that the cop knows all about them and that he’s simply keeping a close watch over our protagonist so that he can try to protect him… but the twist never comes.

Given the film’s seemingly very modest budget, the cast aren’t too bad and, of particular note, the special effects are actually pretty great. Although a lot of the practical work is undermined by horrible digital effects used to bolster them - often leaving you feeling more like you’re watching a Snapchat filter than a ghost story - the film contains one or two haunting images and some of the gore effects towards the end are downright fantastic. If you’re hoping for a film that can offer you anything more, look elsewhere.

DRY BLOOD / CERT: UNRATED / DIRECTOR: KELTON JONES / SCREENPLAY: CLINT CARNEY / STARRING: CLINT CARNEY, JAYMIE VALENTINE, KELTON JONES / RELEASE DATE: 15TH JANUARY