Blood Bound is a supernatural drama which follows a group of teen delinquents who, once duped into robbing a family of witches, must then fight to survive against a curse far more powerful, and ultimately, deadlier their lives of insubordination could have prepared them for. Having fallen under the spell, our protagonist and leading lady Kerry (Brolin) has worse to come. Having been raped by one of the witches she soon realises the family have plans to harvest the life-force growing within her to sustain their powers.
As you might have guessed from my synopsis, the tone of the film is dark throughout, and even the characters for whom we are supposed to root for, are somewhat unlikable owing to their self-serving criminal habits and general air of entitlement. There is a solemn feeling throughout and this, in my opinion, helps give weight to the dialogue heavy first act. It’s not only an intriguing plot opener, but offers up an interesting selection of characters, who respond unpredictably to the scenarios which follow.
It can be quickly realised from the film solid production values, and ‘slow and steady’ approach its characterisation that this is a movie which wants to be taken seriously, favouring awkward conversations and questionable scenarios involving young people over cheap jolts and clichéd antagonists. It works, there is some really solid writing for a film which could have easily come across as a pure amateur effort. Even the teen angst was bearable!
For the films first half anyhow.
Following what I felt was a comparatively strong setup, the films starts to lack development from the half way point. As the main plot shows its hand, the introduction of newer characters, and some less retrained violence and sexualised content does little to retain the atmosphere and intrigue initially provided.
From around this point get to see more of the usual genre clichés used with increasing frequency, from occasional (albeit effective jump scares) to one scene of bloody violence, to some pantomime use of magic powers and even the introduction of ‘The Demon’ – of course a guy in body paint, growling and relishing in his part. Even the films impressive use of lighting, colour grading and camera work does little to detract from the hammy ‘TV-series’ feel of such scenes.
There is an overall feel that this was a drama which favoured style and sexualised scenes (there are plenty of ripped topless men in this film for perhaps a target female audience?) over outright violence, which I thought worked to a point. Sadly though, despite doing its very best to detract and polish up a story in every which way possible, its plot didn’t really come to much in the end, which was a shame.
I don’t know how much you can relate, but this was one of those films which I had wrapped up in my head, all done and dusted, only to find it had another 20 minutes to go, all of which then clarified my conclusion with a climax which failed to deliver anything more.
Overall, playing out like an R-Rated version of the TV show ‘Charmed’ this dark drama is well shot, for the most part well-acted but with an all too familiar plot theme. It’s disappointing that with such a long build-up that the twist in the story, I hoped would give its otherwise generic story some individuality, never came. Tough film to score really, because its technical aspects are more than acceptable, but in terms of entertainment value, it gets stuck in the doldrums once you realise the linear path its story follows.