IT’S IN THE BLOOD
In his debut feature Scooter Downey gives us “It’s In The Blood” an independent psychological thriller. Honestly having seen the film now, I would call it more of a survival story with some heavy drama as the sub-plot. It stars Lance Henriksen (Alien) and newcomers Sean Elliot and Rose Sirna. It’s a very small intricate film that has to rely on the calibre of acting and the characters back story, for it to work well.
The story is about a father and son attempting to reconnect. Years after a family tragedy October (Elliot) comes back to his childhood home. His attempt to reunite with his father Russell (Henriksen) is quickly interrupted after Russell takes a fall. Russell breaks his leg, with nightfall quickly approaching October must think of a way to get them out of the situation. At the same time he is dealing with memories of the past and the psychological scars he carries from them.
The opening scene in the film appears to have no context with anything else that’s going on. Eventually we do see a reference to it later on. I think more so than anything else the lazy editing throughout the opening 10 minutes hurts the clarity of some of the details. I think when we finally do get some context, the build up has been too predictable. I wasn’t even aware of the connection between father and son until it’s actually revealed in conversation. Maybe it went without saying, but I didn’t follow.
There is some solid camera work ranging from steady cam to a more conventional style later. We learn very early on that October is suffering from hallucinations. I’m not sure why someone in his position isn’t taking some type of medication? It’s not like he is unaware that he is seeing things. He know’s he doesn’t have it together, so I’m not sure about that choice. I also thought the father son bonding scene in the beginning of the film had no bearing on anything else that happened in the story. It didn’t progress the character development or the relationship between the two. We find out that it’s been years since they had even spoke. A phone call or something to set up the visit back home would have been something easily written in the script.
The acting for most of the film is above average. Henriksen being the one with the most experience, carries the majority of the scenes, although Elliot has his moments. Rose Sirna only has a very small part. She is completely underused and we never really get to see what she may have been able to do. I thought the back story on October’s situation was decent enough but everything is way to predictable. It didn’t show us anything we haven’t already seen before in plenty of other films. I thought the creatures that appear throughout the film were quite effective. However, we never got a good look at them, or were shown any real menace towards our protagonists. They were kind of just there to add the “horror” element. We never get any explanation for them or a resolution with the scenes they appear in. Like I said earlier, this is a much more artistic, drama based thriller than a horror.
I think this would have worked much better if it was just played out as a drama. Using metaphors in “horror” to represent some deeper darker secret is never really successful. Horror fans are expecting horror, if you don’t deliver they are going to feel let down.
I will admit I didn’t get the whole way through this. There was nothing here worthwhile dissecting or elaborating on, by all accounts it was a very plain film. I have since read other people’s reviews and everyone came to the same sort of conclusion. This was mis-marketed, it wasn’t what any horror fan was expecting or looking for. My advice to Scooter is to try again, there is a lot to be learnt from trying new ideas.
My rating for “It’s In The Blood” is 2/10