April 23, 2021 Bloodthirsty (Movie Review)
Hungry for success and bleeding for her art, an Indie vocalist must confront her past in Bloodthirsty, which arrives to select theaters, as well as On Demand, beginning Friday, April 23, 2021 thanks to Brainstorm Media.
Written by Wendy Hill-Tout (The Perfect Man 1993, Marlene 2020) and Lowell (You Me Her series, Boo 2! A Madea Halloween 2017), and directed by Amelia Moses (Fear Haus series, Bleed with Me 2020), Bloodthirsty is the story of twentysomething singer-songwriter Grey (Lauren Beatty: Jigsaw 2017, Bleed with Me 2020). With her debut album a smash hit, the pressure is on to avoid the sophomore curse. Having a big name producer is key, and it seems as though the stars have aligned for the artist when she is invited to work with the notorious Vaughn Daniels (Greg Bryk: Bitten series, Rabid 2019).
At Daniels’ remote home in the Canadian wilderness, the tension is thick from the outset. Grey’s lover Charlie (Katharine King So: Transplant series, Jupiter’s Legacy series), also an artist, is immediately distrustful of the mysterious producer with a checkered past, and neither of the couple is quick to warm to Daniel’s ominous assistant, Vera (Judith Buchan: I Dream of Murder TV movie 2006, Drawing Home 2016). And despite undergoing extensive psychiatric care back home, with Dr. Swan (Michael Ironside: Total Recall 1990, Starship Troopers 1997), Grey continues to suffer from troubling hallucinations.
With the pressure mounting to deliver a finished product, one that will out-sell her debut disc, she falls into an emotional downward spiral. A lifelong vegan, Grey is now craving raw meat, dreaming of the hunt, and experiencing increasingly disturbing delusions. The harder Daniels pushes, the further she falls. When he urges her to find her true self and stop hiding, the end result just might be the loss of her sanity.
At 85 minutes, Bloodthirsty offers its viewers the feel of a classic ‘90s flick, with a story that falls somewhere in the realm of Syfy’s Bitten series and 1994’s Wolf. Some parallels can also be drawn to more recent offerings, such as 2020’s The Sonata and I Am Lisa, although this film lacks the Faustian qualities of the former and the relatable drama of the latter. Not a foray into the fantastical, it instead chooses to slowly reveal the nature of its true dilemma: and it’s not Grey’s need for a better razor.
Though its story is not exactly unique, Bloodthirsty offers its viewers some solid cinematography from Charles Hamilton (Alive 2018, Harpoon 2019), who chooses to highlight the magical home in which Daniels resides as well as the daunting, snow-covered forest that surrounds it. Meanwhile the multi-talented Lowell’s fragile melodies envelope the onscreen action in a beautifully melancholic fog that helps to relay the female protagonist’s shifting emotions as it sets the stage for the talented cast’s delivery. Not to be overlooked, the paintings of Matthew Therrien, who is the actual creator of Charlie’s artwork, are haunting additions to the film.
Unfortunately, Bloodthirsty loses much of its intrigue by being a slow-burn that is both obvious and predictable. This lack of suspense makes it hard to fully lose oneself inside the story, which is neither heavily flawed nor groundbreaking in its approach. Thankfully, the small cast do a wonderful job with the material, particularly Bryk, whose delivery is nuanced enough to never make his intentions entirely transparent. As the sophisticated, world weary Daniels, he brings a velvety gloam to the tale that is necessary for his co-stars to succeed.
Beatty and So, and even Buchan, use Bryk’s unforgiving movements as a springboard for their characters. Buchan is silently daunting, while Beatty must wear her emotions on her sleeves. As the struggling artist, the actress brings a believability to her performance as she toils aways in the studio, trying to keep pace with her mentor. So, however, steals the show. A painter who is trying to be supportive of her lover, but also fearful for her mental state, she offers viewers a strong female character who is a tender artistic soul that can still refuse to be ignored.
And yet, sometimes a film does nothing particularly wrong, but still manages to land itself right in the middle of the herd. Bloodthirsty is a perfect example of this: neither entirely original nor terribly flawed, it is a werewolf film; not much more. If you so desire to read into it, sure, you might walk away wondering if the writers are anti-veganism, but otherwise, it’s thanks to an excellent cast that the Horror-Thriller is able to hold an audience for its runtime. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Bloodthirsty 3.5 of 5 stars.