Sunday 3 September 2023

Here for Blood (Canada 2022: Dir Daniel Turres)

Facing the prospect of a looming exam, student Phoebe (Joelle Farrow) decides to foist her forthcoming lucrative babysitting gig onto her boyfriend Tom (Shawn Roberts) so she can cram. A reluctant Tom agrees. The charge he's sitting for is little Grace (Maya Misaljevic) who lives with her parents in a creepy house on the edge of town.

But when Tom and Grace are left alone after Grace's parents depart for the evening, the house comes under siege from a group of demon worshipping miscreants aiming to kidnap the little girl as part of an elaborate ritual. Tom and Grace, plus Phoebe and some friends who arrive at the house later, must do battle with the gang to save themselves and prevent a looming apocalypse.

I have deliberately written the above without disclosing that Here for Blood is actually a wild, violent and frequently hilarious horror comedy. Think the wild ride of Chelsea Stardust's 2019 movie Satanic Panic crossed with a bloodier episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Plus point number one is the casting of Roberts as the nice but dim beefcake boyfriend Tom. In real life Roberts is, for those who don't know - and ok that included me - a professional wrestler, and director Turres makes great use of his physique and grappling skills in the scenes where he duffs up the bad guys; there's also a nod to those Schwarzenegger movies where Arnie acts against cute little kids in a setup where the burly Tom has to interact with the diminutive Grace. Misaljevic is excellent as the quick witted and resourceful moppet in peril, up against a bunch of hapless bad guys who really didn't plan for the armed response they receive when trying to snatch the little girl. And finally; the violence. This ain't subtle stuff, but once it gets going faces get toasted on hot plates, heads are pulled off, throats are slashed...well you get the idea. Oh and did I mention that bloody demanding disembodied head voiced by Dee Snider from the band 'Twisted Sister'? Here for Blood is largely a comedy of incident rather than script (although there are a few sotto voce moments that made me laugh) but its gore soaked home alone horror, which shifts to an agreeably supernatural level about half way through, never lets up. It's a little overlong but I'll forgive that for the overall exuberance of direction and the fine cast's willingness to give themselves heart and soul (literally on occasion) to the project. 

Here for Blood screened at London's FrightFest on 25 August 2023.

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