Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Year Released: 2020
Runtime: 1h 33m
Director(s): Justin Dix
Writer(s): Jordan Prosser, Justin Dix
Cast: Alyssa Sutherland, Christopher Kirby, Nathan Phillips, Robert Taylor
Where To Watch: Streaming now, visit www.thehorrorcollective.com for more information
RAVING REVIEW: BLOOD VESSEL sails into the vampire movie realm with an interesting, yet somewhat foreseeable adventure. Set on a ship, this film serves up a new atmosphere, enhanced by solid special effects and remarkably fun performances. With the release of THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER only a few months away, it was interesting to see a vampire boat film beat it to the punch by years. While not the same, there are without question some parallels.
The film features some well-done set design and a pretty powerful mix of cinematography (mainly CGI) with a menacing sky and surging waves that set an eerie tone for the story—creature effects add to the film's appeal. The pacing of the film leaves some room for improvement though, after an engaging beginning, the narrative loses momentum, which in turn diminishes the impact of the creatures once they finally appear.
BLOOD VESSEL revolves around shipwreck survivors who find themselves adrift on a life raft after a U-Boat attack sinks their ship. They come across a Nazi freighter and board it, only to discover it apparently abandoned and littered with the remains of its crew. As they explore the ship further, they unveil its chilling secrets. Yep, it’s as crazy as it sounds but could have been even more if the narrative moved along a little quicker.
The performances are commendable, but the characters are essentially genre clichés which weirdly works in this setting. Nevertheless, the film offers an engaging horror experience for those who appreciate situational terror, eye-catching visuals, and really well-done special effects.
The screenplay of BLOOD VESSEL has its flaws, with plot holes and some inconsistencies dragging it down. Oddly enough, the dialogue heaviness is one of the most prominent dings in the film. Thankfully the third act picks up the pace, had the whole film been that level of fun, this would have probably been a 4 to 5-star film.
One of BLOOD VESSEL's standout features is the practical effects used to animate the creatures mixed with the perfect touch of CGI. It really shows what can be achieved when a film focuses on creating its world instead of just rushing to get something finished.
The finale of BLOOD VESSEL delivers a shock that surprised me, it makes the entire experience worth it. As with most horror films, some of the characters make choices that seem laughable for the viewers but that just comes with the territory.
In conclusion, BLOOD VESSEL is an atmospheric horror flick that had a lot of potential. While it may not be a standout in the vampire film genre, it provides an enjoyable experience for those who love a macabre vampire tale. Horror fans should check this out for sure!
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[photo courtesy of ENTERTAINMENT SQUAD]