Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2019
Images from the Internet
Directed by Roxy Shih
Kew Media Group / Title Media / Lone Suspect
83 minutes, 2019
How deep is your emotional pain? Does it turn into something physical? While this theme was used in David Cronenberg’s The Brood (1979), here it takes a deeper, yet also bloody turn.
In the prologue, Misha Barton has “Drew Barrymore” cameo, shared with the great Maria Olsen who steals the scene, of course. After that we get introduced to the main characters, and their issues. After a tragic loss, surgeon John (Adam Huss) has to not only readjust to life with his wife, Chloe (Madeline Zima), but he now finds he is in constant physical pain. Apparently, the only temporary cure for this agony is to drink fresh blood. No, he’s not a vampire in the classic sense, and why blood affects him this way is never really addressed, but it is taken on face value. I’m okay with that, as it’s a genre film.
There is some blood and squeamish knife cuttings here and there, but generally, this is more a dramatic story of a man and his family/friends struggling with some of the same issues in both direct and indirect ways. Because of this the pacing is a bit slow, but the tension definitely builds as the film rolls on.
I would be tempted call this more of a thriller than horror, even with the blood drinking, as it’s easy to substitute the cravings for blood to other addictions, especially in the medical field, and there is some play with that in the story. Again, this is a smart move.
Despite the high angst level throughout, there is a feeling of trying to balance a life or lives with a new normal. Taiwanese director Roxy Shih shows compassion for her characters, though I found the ending a bit unrealistic (no spoiler alerts). For only a second feature, she has done an admirable job.