Bloodline is a new crime horror thriller about Evan, a High School counselor who works with abused teens. After the birth of his son, Evan decides to become a vigilante who delivers brutal justice to the abusive relatives of the teens that confide in him. Family means more to Evan than anything and he is willing to do whatever it takes to protect its sanctity, even if it means becoming a serial killer.
Director Henry Jacobson delivers a graphic, brutal, and deep film that explores the effects of various forms of child abuse. While this subject has been explored in horror for years, Jacobson gives us a different perspective on it. Evan is an introverted person who seems to be able to keep his cool, even while dealing with the demons of his past. It is after the birth of his child where we see him taking devotion to family to the next level. Devotion not only to his family, but also to the abused teens that he talks to on a weekly basis. He sees them almost as if they are his kids to protect, which he ends up doing in the most gruesome way possible. Seann William Scott puts in one of his best performances as Evan. He plays this character with the eeriness of Norman Bates combined with the viciousness of Jason Vorhees. You can tell he thinks he is doing good, but deep inside you know that what he is doing is for a more selfish reason. Evan is a character that puts the audience in an awkward position on whether you should cheer him for the brutal punishments he gives to his victims or hate him for taking matters into his own hands. Scott’s performance keeps the audience in this position for most of the film.
What surprised me about Bloodline is how explicit the film was for a modern horror film. From the brutally graphic opening shower scene to the birth of Evan’s child. The visuals are very striking, like something out of a Brian De Palma film. You can see DePalma’s influence as well as other 70s thrillers throughout, especially in the brutality of the kills. The type of weapon used as well as how that weapon is visually shot is reminiscent of what you see in Giallo films. Jacobson does something interesting with the lighting that I thought worked great. Evan’s home is never completely lit. There are always rooms with shadows or dim lights. The lighting seems to get dimmer in the home as the story gets darker and we learn about Evans dark past. All of the gore effects are practical and the electronic synth soundtrack helps complete the 70s motif.
The Bloodline script, co written by Avra Fox-Lerner, Will Honely, and Henry Jacobson, is sure to keep you on your toes. I thought I had things figured out early in the film and thought I knew what to expect when the story bucked expectations. It also had an ending that is sure to surprise many and make a few jaws drop.
Bloodline is a solid horror thriller that brings enough new ideas to the table to make it worth watching. I found the story to be an interesting exploration into a dark subject and it was original enough to keep me intrigued throughout. While the entire cast does well, it is the wickedly dark performance from Sean William Scott that steals the show. This is definitely not a film for those easily shocked. If you enjoy the crime horror thrillers of the 70s and are tired of PG-13 horror, then this one’s for you.