We can’t help to love a stand up dad in movies, but what happens when that family man has a pretty nasty hobby? How far can one go to protect the people they love and it still be acceptable? That’s just what Henry Jacobson hopes to find out in the blood splattered familial thriller Bloodline. The answer, as it would seem, is “pretty damn far.”
Evan is a dedicated new father and high school guidance counselor who wants nothing but the best for his family and students by any means necessary. He is also a serial killer. I’m sure you can see where this is headed. With the unconditional support of his (maybe too) loving mother, he has to try and balance his cherished family live, the work he’s passionate about, and his dark pastime. But as the police start catching on, it seems Evan might not be the only one with something to hide.
Sean William Scott (yes, that Sean William Scott) delivers a career revitalizing performance. Breaking away from 20 years of typecasting is a nearly impossible feat, but Scott executes his first fully serious turn effortlessly. The only time his party boy buffoon persona crossed my mind was to think “there’s no way this is the same actor.” Stifler has got serious chops, and I really hope he continues to use them in genre roles. Scott isn’t the only one who nails his role, though. Across the board, every performance delivers exactly what is needed for the story. Mariela Garriga shines as the suspicious wife, and Dale Dickey’s doting mother is award worthy. Even the teens, who are often hit or miss, are absolutely convincing.
It isn’t just the performances that make this movie standout either. From lighting to script, gore to score, Bloodline pretty much works on every level. While comparisons to Dexter are as understandable as they are inevitable, I don’t think they’re exactly fair. There isn’t a scene in the film that doesn’t serve a purpose, either thematically or narratively. Even the best seasons of Dexter can’t boast that. The story is tight and targeted. Each line meant to steer you in a certain direction, and each one succeeding. This makes the payoff on the little twists and turns far sweeter. Even when you see them coming, you can’t help but admire the craftsmanship. Not one of them seem outlandish, misleading, or unearned. You can’t say that for the other serial killing family man.
Another thing that puts Bloodline above it’s contemporary counterparts is they do not hold out on the nasty stuff. While tasteful and well crafted, there’s plenty of blood splattered satisfaction to satiate your cravings for gore. No quick cut away from stabs, every knife blow lands in full focus. You get to watch every stringy inside part pull and cut, and the effects feel visceral and real. The stomach turning, teeth clenching effects magnum opus comes relatively early on in the film, as we watch Evan’s son being born. I expected a number of things from this film, a between the legs birthing scene in full focus was never one of them, and it still lives behind my eyeballs haunting me day and night. If that was an effect, as opposed to live birth footage, I’ll be amazed.
This movie perfectly encapsulates the sheer terror, disorientation, insanity, and strong desire to murder people that washes over you when you have kids for the first time. It also puts into perspective the lengths to which we will go for the ones we love. All while being a benchmark of what is possible in indie film making. Most importantly, it showed me to a minimal degree (still more than I wanted) what new mothers go through. I felt like I knew what my mother went through to bring me into this world until I saw it. Mom, if you see this, I can never repay you and I am so, so sorry.
Bloodline is in select theaters now, and will be released on VOD and DVD October 22nd. It is fully worth your money.
‘Bloodline’ Destroys Dexter In a Disturbing Fatherhood Fable [Review]