“Blood” comes from production companies, Hercules Film Fund, H2L Media Group, Rhea Films, and 1821 Studios, with Vertical Entertainment distributing the film.
Blood is contracted to us by director Brad Anderson and scribed by Will Honley. It stars Michelle Monaghan (Jess), Skeet Ulrich (Patrick), Finlay Wojtak-Hissong (Owen), and Skylar Morgan Jones (Tyler). It follows a mother, Jess, and her two children, Owen and Tyler, who have relocated to an old farmhouse, and are trying to re-establish themselves from past and present troubles.
Jess is recovering from drug addiction, all the while going through a bitter divorce with her husband, Patrick. Not long after moving in, and still trying to pick up the fragmented pieces and recreate a sense of normality, the family dog (Pippin) has his senses transfixed on a path leading into the woods.
No longer being able to bear the ‘calling’, Pippen darts off down the beckoning path and remains absent, much to the fear of his owners. After a few days pass and while finishing dinner, Owen notices Pippin has returned. Owen disregards all and bolts out the door to reunite with man’s best friend. Unfortunately, Pippin is not the same, he’s ‘changed’.
Jess and Tyler follow after Owen, and all three realize Pippin’s stark change. With a low growl and sinister, beady eyes, Pippin charges and starts to bite Owen. Jess rescues him by beating the dog with an object. They rush Owen to the hospital, and it seems as if Owen’s mortal coil is disintegrating, but they are able to save him.
While in the hospital Owen mysteriously relapses, but then again is saved. While trying to serve Owen some ‘normal’ food, Jess realizes Owen is not interested. Then later Jess catches Owen sucking blood from one of the pouches connected to him. Jess in utter disbelief snatches the pouch from him. Later on, Owen begs his mother for more, to which she refuses, but ultimately relents to her son’s strange sustenance.
After a few days of good health, they are able to return home with their ‘secret’. Owen’s sanguinary thirst only worsens at this point, making his mother start to reach for desperate measures. She gives him her own blood, but her own health starts to deteriorate and Owen needs more.
She tries to steal some from the hospital, but that plot is foiled by a co-worker. With nowhere else to turn, Jess resorts to Easter’s favorite animal. Much to Jess’ dismay, the blood source is not working, and she must find other options.
Jess kidnaps a patient she had been caring for at the hospital with terminal cancer and imprisons her in the basement. After extracting the vital fluids for Owen a few times, her daughter’s curiosity about her mother’s eccentricities compels her to break into the basement. She realizes what her mother has been doing after seeing the helpless blood donor; yet, Jess is able to convince her that it’s for the best.
After a few days, the patient musters enough strength to escape while the family is out, but while being chased she staples herself into a barbed wire fence. Jess buries the body and tries to reassure them that everything is okay.
The unraveling steadily picks up, as Jess has ignored calls from the hospital to check up on Owen, ignoring her ex-husband to the point of CPS coming to the house. They deem it necessary to take the kids to stay with their father.
While there Owen is unable to control his bloodlust, and almost feasts on Patrick and his new fiancé’s newborn, only to be stopped by Tyler. Who sneaks Owen out of the house and takes him to what she thinks is the origin of Owen’s sickness, an accursed tree rooted in quicksand mud.
Before reaching the accursed soil and tree, Owen attacks his sister and a battle ensues. Tyler runs to the tree and is almost subdued by Owen before her mother comes and grabs him. Realizing that it’s gone too far and has no hope, she suffocates Owen in the viscous mud.
Jess convinces Tyler to say it was an accident, knowing no one would believe the real story. We later see Jess burn down the dead wood, seemingly killing the curse.
The film ends with Jess playing with a new dog, only for the canine to be stricken with the same spell as poor Pippin.
For me, the plot was executed deftly, and the characters added to the crescendo. Michelle Monaghan played a desperate mother, whose pieces were already in shambles. If we look at the greater landscape of the story, everything parallels Jess’ subconscious state: the old farmhouse, the accursed soil and tree, her divorce, and her past addiction.
Tyler played the daughter/sister with a heavy burden to bear that no child should have to face, and Patrick was a father who would do anything for his kids and just wanted to be with them.
I found a cohesiveness between all the protagonists with the plot’s brooding and perilous manner. The unraveling and disarray were front and center, that no optimist could deny. I literally felt bad for every character for different reasons (including those rabbits!).
Overall, “Blood” summons us to ask ourselves what are we capable of and what are we willing to do for the ones we love. Jess feels that she is a failure already due to her past addiction and nasty divorce, and ultimately not being able to hold the family nucleus together.
Does she find an opportunity to redeem herself by trying to save her son at all costs, to give herself some value, some worth?
Or is she just a parent that would do anything for her suffering child. . . or both? Does this opportunity come with a price due to past regressions?
It should make one think of “Pet Cemetary”, when Louis exhumes and then buries his son, Gage, in the accursed soil of Pet Cemetary, much to the warnings not to do so from Jud and the ghostly Pascow. Louis ultimately has to kill his own reanimated son (which brought tears to my own eyes btw!). He then buries his wife there as well. His love and insanity drove him to mad choices in hopes of reuniting.
Another example is “Let Me In”, where The Father kills for Abby in return for protection, and for the feeling of having a daughter he never had!
Or how about Father Paul in Midnight Mass who would regard a creature for a vital fluid to permeate his vessel, all because he was afraid of death itself? The priest seeks eternal life from another source in the face of his own creed, even though his very religion preaches and teaches eternal life as long as you accept the ‘word’- if that doesn’t show religious fragility then what does? Oh, such irony!
Picture yourself as a fractured, destitute parent, who feels invalid and unworthy, you’ve lost almost everything, and have one last chance for a piece of salvation.
Are you Louis, Father Paul, or Jess? What/who are you. . .
Blood is currently available for rent or purchase on Prime Video.
Review submitted by: Micheal