Wednesday, November 04, 2020

To Drink of Your Blood – review


Director: Edin Alain Martínez

Release date: 2020

Contains spoilers

A Mexican film, Beber de tu Sangre (in the original Spanish) has appeared on Amazon video as Violent Delights and is a strangely compelling film that is certainly well shot in a photography sense (though there is a practical effect that is less than fantastic) and is sort of a character study meets partial-body horror.

It is also not afraid of the human body and opens with Alani (Ana Paulina Martínez) as she moves atop partner Gabriel (Guillermo Zapata). We notice two things, the bloodless whiteness of her skin and the fact that, despite the act, she seems utterly uninterested. After he climaxes, she seems almost sad. This is then juxtaposed against another couple elsewhere, Lizbeth (Jitzel Galicia) and Javier (Ernesto Salinas). Their sex seems more passionate, afterwards Lizbeth reminds him that they are late for meeting friends.

the friends

The friends are Vania (Olivia Adriana Pérez) and Claudia (Paola Hernández). We get some bar banter and then Javier goes to the toilet. He walks past Alani, who notices him and follows him to the toilet. Unseen by him she moves into a cubical and comes out when he is washing his hands. Given her unnatural pallor, it won’t be a shock to hear she is a vampire and I reference it here as we can see her in the mirror. She moves on him, rips his shirt open but then walks away. As he gets back to the others, they are ready to leave. He notices Alani sat nearby as they go, his gaze remains on her as they move.

luring Joshua

A young man, Joshua, moves over to her. A cut, and we see them enter a house. He seems rather passionate but then Gabriel appears, wearing nothing but an open robe. He intimidates Joshua, though Alani says that her partner is harmless. Gabriel brings a woman through and Alani suddenly bites Joshua before going to her; both Alani and Gabriel feed from the woman's wrists. It seems that the act of feeding both gives a euphoria and acts as an aphrodisiac as Alani and Gabriel rut in the blood. Before that happened Gabriel told the bleeding Joshua that he could turn him, but he is in a bad mood – I’ll touch on turning again later.

arguement

Again, their sex is followed by a scene of Lizbeth and Javier having sex. This time two things are clear, he is sleeping with her but is thinking of Alani and she is pregnant, the baby bump visible beneath the sheet. She is also insecure. As the film goes on, we realise that they have been off and on-again partners and she fears that he is with her now solely because of the baby. Cutting back to the vampires we see them chasing down a woman, through the house and courtyard. Alani viciously bites flesh away and there is a to-and-fro between her and Gabriel that reveals that she wants to be a mother.

the theatre

So, Javier bumps into Alani and this leads to them coming together (and, incidentally, when one paints one's lead actress in makeup to create her pallor, it looks odd when it is missing because she is in the shower). Lizbeth meets Gabriel in a clothing store where he displays a level of psychic ability to her and then meets up with her and her two friends and invites them all to a play (he is an actor), in the theatre that is part of their house complex, and dinner afterwards (he says he is a cook who specialises in flesh and blood). They attend with Javier, of course.

the play

The play is very avant-garde meets theatre des vampires and seems to leave the friends cold, but they attend dinner and then things start to go all a bit emotional and bloody and, with things like a large vagina-shaped cake, just a bit surreal… We don’t get much in the way of lore. We’ve already seen that they reflect in the mirror. We see Gabriel turn someone through a bite and he says about his poison in them – so presumably he is the only one who can turn a human, as Joshua didn’t turn with Alani’s bite.

body horror

The film flirts with some body-horror as Gabriel starts ripping skin away to reveal oozing pustules beneath the surface. The point of this is to show that he is a monster beneath the surface (actually his actions show that anyway) and can be read as an inner Dorian Gray moment. This is the bit of sfx that didn’t overly work as the modelling clay is very noticeable – this is a minor complaint and the pustules looked much better. The blood effects, however, are well done. What this does lack is an involved story; this is more a character study (mostly of Alani and Lizbeth, and much more about the former of those two) with horror thrown in for good measure.

Euphoric

Yet despite the lack of overall story this is rather compelling. The characters are larger than life but keep us interested and the film demands attention. There is a moment that may trigger some viewers but I can’t say more due to it being a major spoiler. The photography worked really well generally, with some nice close up portraits within the cinematography. In some respects there was a lot of style over substance here but that worked for the film. 6 out of 10.

At the time of writing the film doesn’t have an IMDb page.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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