Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blood in the Night – review

Director: Lincoln Kupchak

Release date: 1993

Contains spoilers

The art of short film making is a subtle one. With little time for exposition a way has to be found to move the narrative along in a way that makes sense but also, often, makes use of shortcuts.

Blood in the Night used narrative shortcuts but they felt, unfortunately, unsatisfying and left the viewer wondering why rather than accepting the shortcut for what it was.

David Laird Scott as Vladius
It begins in some Eastern European location. A man, Vladius (David Laird Scott). listens to a baby cry. A man and woman try to calm it but Vladius snatches it away. He is going to silence it but then says he can’t harm it as the baby is cursed already. The man takes it and runs as the woman is punished by being attacked by Vladius, who then appears before the man and takes the baby.

Los Angeles; and two delivery men struggle with a large box. They deliver it to a woman named Tatsu (Bonita Walker). After they have left she announces that it is time and a hand slips out of the crate opening from the inside. The woman who emerges, later named as Veronique (Reggie Athnos), is the baby now grown and has been sent to the US by her father, the Count, to widen her education.

Also in the States is Vladius, who seems to spend his time hunting indiscriminately. Anyway, the women go for a walk and a couple of drunk rough types speak to Veronique, as she and Tatsu pass by. She responds, engaging with the men, but Tatsu drags her away. The two n’er-do-wells follow and drag Veronique off, ready to rape her. She throws one across the alley into a wall and, by the time that Tatsu shows up with the cops, she has broken the other’s neck. This is what I meant by shortcuts that don’t work. Veronique has to meet rookie detective Jack Sawyer (Mark Moyer) but why would Tatsu bring the cops when she knew that Veronique could simply kill the two assailants? Indeed, why would the first two men Veronique meets in America be blatant rapists who leave a witness (Tatsu) behind?

caught in the act
Jack goes back to the apartment to take Veronique’s statement (rather than taking her to the station as she has just killed two men) and whilst they talk we see that Vladius is attacking yet another woman. Jack forgoes taking the statement and, instead, kisses Veronique – who sends him away before she does something she’ll regret. When he gets outside he catches Vladius attacking the woman and, instead of taking the cop out, Vladius floats up into the night. Jack calls for backup but what will he do? You could put money on the fact that Vladius will float off to Veronique and that Jack, despite having no reason to do so, will go straight to her apartment…

Reggie Athnos as Veronique
And this is the difficulty; the shortcuts make no logical sense. Sure they spur the narrative on but they just don’t work. On a positive side, despite the thick Lugosi-esque nature of the accent, David Laird Scott steals the show with scene chewing acumen and Reggie Athnos is both very pretty and also very natural in her performance. She offers an air of naivety that one might suggest is unusual in a vampire but that works in this. However, I can’t get past the bad shortcuts.

3 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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