Sunday, November 22, 2020

Blood from Stone – review

Director: Geoff Ryan

Release date: 2020

Contains spoilers

Filmed in Laughlin, Nevada, this vampire film feels more a character study than anything else – particularly following two vampires as they try to live very different lives.

It could have also felt a little bit like a Tarantino type of movie… I don’t think it got there in those terms but it was certainly a worthwhile attempt to draw us into a neo-noir that shows two very different takes on eternal life.

Vanja Kapetanovic as Joe/Jure

We start in a bar as a guy in cowboy type gear watches four convention goers enter. As they talk to the barmaid, he introduces himself as Joe Allen (Vanja Kapetanovic) and offers to buy them all a whisky shot. He does this, but doesn’t buy himself one, and then offers them another round. Suspicious, he allays their fears by saying he has drunk enough but had a good day on the gaming tables (and flashes cash). One of them still declines and so, when Joe offers them drugs also, he doesn’t go outside with them.


Outside we see Joe, actually called Jure Alilovic, has fangs. He attacks the drunk, drugged men. After they have been a while the fourth goes outside and is attacked for his trouble – but he is not drunk enough and so the inebriated Jure cannot get more drunk through his blood. He, we see, stakes the fallen convention goer (it seems we are in a bite and eventual turn film, but I disliked the staking in this, the stakes seemed too flimsy). Jure wanders the streets, inebriated, blood stained and is found passed out by Darya (Gabriella Toth).

Gabriella Toth as Darya

She reluctantly takes him home. Jure turned her and is her ex and has followed her to Laughlin. She has tried to build a life there, has a job in a casino bar and subsists on blood packs she buys from a source at a hospital. Jure insists on hunting and getting drunk/drugged (there was a wonderful line about his mother being all alone in her castle and him needing to call her). However, he goes on a killing spree (and ends up captured on CCTV) – with an interesting sequence of him taking over an uber and killing his drunken passengers.

hunting again

Meanwhile, after a disappointing tryst with a guest at the casino Darya meets a doctor, Raymond (Eric Cotti), with whom she hits it off. However, the feelings he engenders causes her to start hunting again. She has also contacted Jure’s sister Victoria (Nika Khitrova) to try and talk him down from his spree and the police are seeing a connection between her and Jure, even assigning one of her kills to him…

Jure worst for wear

And I liked this. I enjoyed the characters – the idea of the drunken, certainly alcoholic, vampire with a warrior's body and a philosopher’s mind, and a penchant for casual violence was nicely realised and Darya was an interesting character fighting her instincts (and giving in) showing a different form of dependence. You got the idea of a wider vampire society all trying to navigate the modern world (Victoria admits her and her wife like the modern day as they don’t have to hide their love and can live off migrants landing on Greek shores).

sunlight burns

Lore wise we don’t get too much. Sunlight is fatal (as is fire), and a stake through the heart kills or prevents a turn. All in all it is perhaps a tad longer than it needs to be, but overall it’s a worthy entry into the genre. 6.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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