I originally posted this review back in April. I'm re-posting it as the film has recently hit various VOD platforms (including Amazon and iTunes as well as a number of cable providers). Hands down, it's one of my favorite genre films of the year and it just may be the best. I can't recommend this film enough and I hope that you check it out. In a sea of blandness, we need more films like It's In The Blood.
~ Cortez the Killer
There are many times where I've questioned myself as a blogger (and subsequently lost a bit of motivation) due to the overwhelming amount of bad films that I make myself endure. For as many posts as this blog has seen, there are an equal amount of films that are not represented because 1. I either couldn't get through the entire film and had to turn it off or 2. It was so painfully awful that I could not bring myself to write a review much less anything remotely intelligible. But then there are those rays of golden light and those experiences you have like I did this past weekend. I saw the fantastic film The Cabin In the Woods and then followed that up by watching the equally incredible independent film It's In The Blood. And I fell back in love with the genre again, all is right with the world, and it's much easier to put fingers to keyboard and bang out a review.
Much like The Cabin in the Woods, this is a film I cannot delve too much into without spoiling its wonderful surprises, twists, and turns. However, a proper setup is needed. October is a young man who's in the middle of medical school and reluctant to come back home for a reunion of sorts with his estranged father (Lance Henriksen). His father lives out in the countryside surrounded by a heavily wooded area. It is here where a tragedy befell the family a few years prior.
Within the opening scenes of the film you learn all you need to know about just how bad the relationship between father and son is. October finds the family dog seized by a bear trap meant for local coyotes. He frantically works to save the dog, removing the clamp, and quickly inserting a makeshift shunt to help clear liquid from the dog's lungs. But dad coldly and quickly decides that the dog will not live and he needs to put it down. Along with this, comes a car ride out to the spot were they're meant to go hiking in which dad basically questions his son's manhood.
Interspersed between the scenes of father and son (and eventually the horrific drama that unfolds onscreen), are a series of flashbacks that help us understand what happened to this family which caused it to fracture so badly. The greatness of the film is the fact that it doesn't give us all the answers right away. Each flashback is done with a skill and grace that invites the audience to be an active participant. It allows them to fill in the gaps themselves and then be punched in the gut when the final piece falls into place.
So where does the real horror of the film come in to play? Dad gets spooked by a creature that he sees in the woods and ends up stepping off a cliff. Not high enough to kill him but enough to severely break his leg, dad is knocked unconscious and his son comes to the rescue. For the majority of the rest of our film, in between the moments of fill-in-the-gaps flashbacks, they are threatened by tall, dark, and lanky creatures in the woods who make them feel as though there is no way out. As the story unravels further, and father and son repair old wounds, we begin to wonder, are the monsters real or are they merely representative of the anger and pain which each man harbors?
The film fantastically plays out all the way until the terrifying end. The creature design (hooray for good practical effects!) is also great as well as the atmospherics which give off a pervasive feeling of dread throughout. And the irrepressible Henriksen is absolutely brilliant. It's In The Blood reaffirms why I love horror so much and its the type of film that makes enduring so many bad ones all worthwhile.
For more information about the film, check out its website: http://www.itsinthebloodthemovie.com/index1.html
Cortez the Killer