Written and directed by Sean Brown (Book of Monsters 2018) and Luke Gosling (Athena 2014) comes Blood Myth out on DVD and VOD through High Octane Pictures on Tuesday, November 5th, 2019. A Horror film in the vein of 1973’s The Wicker Man – part Mystery Drama, part weirdo cult Horror – is it worth a watch, or is this myth worth a miss?
The story follows James Lincoln (Jonathan McClean: Athena 2014) which is a journalist stuck looking into folklore and urban legends. One leads him to a mysterious village it is rumored a cult abducts people to use as sacrifices every 30 years. There may be a nugget of truth, as people have gone missing – the last being the sister of a local called Clayton Eldridge (Neil Summerville: Jump 2015) 3 decades prior. Lincoln takes his fiancée Harriet (The Creature Below 2016) with him to investigate, thinking it will just be an excuse to take a break. But then she goes missing. Now he has no choice but to take the legend seriously, or he may never find her again.
Well, it is already a step-up from some of its rivals. It does not let the wind overpower the actors in exterior shoots like 2018’s Dark Vale did. The film also manages to pep up its slower sequences with imaginative visuals that build up the tense atmosphere. They are not even particularly fancy. Some are as simple as a light shining in the distance in the dark, or a high angle to suggest someone looking down on their prey.
Then there is the film’s use of sound. The soundtrack is suitably tense and grim- whooshing winds, low horns, sudden cuts timed to opening & closing doors, etc. Yet it can only spice up scenes of Lincoln wandering the woods and fields so much. That is why the more striking examples has Lincoln’s search overlaid by his desperate voicemails to Harriet’s phone. They are not only a good display of McClean’s acting chops, but they build up his character, as he initially assumes his past with his boss Claire (Charlie Walker McClimens: The Space Between 2010) has something to do with the disappearance.
McClean’s Lincoln is not an angel. He is often sarcastic and dismissive, yet he does pull the audience onto his side as the mystery goes on. He shows remorse, determination, and desperation as he tries to find Harriet. The rest of the cast do a strong job too, coming off as convincing- and often suspicious- characters. Summerville’s Eldridge is a strong suspect with a prior history, while the seemingly helpful Alexandra Priest (Hannah Chambers: Containment 2015) may have ulterior motives.
However, there are drawbacks, and they are in the presentation. Kind of. The film is a slow-burn mystery horror, as it takes a while to build up. Even then, it leans more towards ‘mystery’ than ‘horror’. The spooky symbols and cultists are ominous enough, especially with the backing soundtrack, though they are better at building suspense than shivers. It does not help that the title Blood Myth suggests something gorier and wilder. The Wicker Man had a wicker man at least. Blood Myth is about a myth, and not much blood.
This may be for the best, as its stunts are on the weak side too. There are not many, as most of them come at the very end. Yet they look noticeably fake, no matter how well the actors try to sell them. Still, least the final twist is interesting enough. If a little odd, in that it makes some sense, though it could have required a little more elaboration. More than the visuals and clips could get across. There could have been more to the cult too, though suppose the filmmakers wanted to avoid doing a straight version of the twist from 2008’s Hot Fuzz.
Nevertheless, Blood Myth is worth catching. It is solidly put together, has a strong atmosphere, and makes scenes that would be dry on paper interesting on the screen. The film puts across an enjoyably creepy journey to an otherwise weird destination, with enough twists and turns along the way. Just be prepared to look more into the ‘Myth’ part of the title than the ‘Blood.’ This is not a gorefest, or a particularly scary Horror film. It is just a good, if weird, suspense Thriller. Thus, for these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Blood Myth 4 out of 5 stars.