Monday, April 06, 2020

Blood Type – review

Director: Kevin Wayne

Release date: 2019*

Contains spoilers

Blood Type is a short feature that is showing as a 2019 film on IMDb but also appears dated 2014 as a web serial. The feature is on Amazon VOD and, I guess, is a stitched together version of the serial but I have used the feature's listed date. I didn’t know any of this as I watched the feature and the positive news is it didn’t feel episodic as I watched though the serial origins have a massive impact on one aspect that I’ll come back to.

We are in a post-apocalyptic world and, as things start, we see a man, Caleb (Kevin Wayne), awakening in some sort of facility, in a sheet only. There are clearly issues with the electrics and he finds a torch and tries to escape.

Caleb awakening
He follows a passageway for some distance. Eventually he gets to a ladder that leads to a hatch and the outside world. Just beyond the hatch he finds the body of a soldier. Turning him over we see that his eyes still move even if he seems dead. His trainers don’t fit but Caleb takes clothes, his kit and a gun. He shelters as night falls and can hear a woman crying for help, but sits scared. Then we hear voices, the woman is taken for Roman (John Richards) who wanted a pure human specimen. The voices of those speaking seem odd.

Maxwell Ross as Dimitrie
The next day, he comes across a stream. He drinks and is about to fill a canteen when he sees something reflected in the canteen. A man with a distorted face attacks him and manages to bite his arm before Caleb falls down a small waterfall. The creature follows him and is readying another attack when he is shot and killed. The shooter is a young boy, Dimitrie (Maxwell Ross), and he keeps the gun levelled at Caleb. Caleb tries to talk his way out of the situation – the dialogue seems ill-fitting for a grown man and I’ll come back to that. Dimitrie eventually explains that he is waiting for Caleb to turn and it should have happened already… he realises Doc will want to see the man.

a dracon
After getting Caleb to bind his wound – they can smell blood – they walk through the woods. At one point a zombie like man walks past them – one of the turned, Dimitrie explains, they don’t normally attack but a Dracon might be close. We get some background of a plague hitting humanity, a pandemic that causes devastation and then some of the infected start to mutate into the Dracon. As they walk they are targeted from a distance by a couple of survivalists who intend to shoot them and steal their gear but, unknown to the two, a strange swordsman kills the bandits. We’ll discover that he is Julian Delacroix (Milorad Djomlija). The two manage to get back to the encampment without incident and none the wiser.

Kevin Wayne as Caleb
So, we later discover that Caleb had been placed into, what appeared to be, a suspended animation – going in as a boy and coming out as a grown man. This takes us to the dialogue that felt ill-fitting. Caleb has the mind of a ten-year old. The dialogue did fit that and if I could describe Wayne’s performance it would be ‘earnest’. At times it did feel like a child speaking but the downside to that was that the ‘earnest’ nature didn’t necessarily carry the viewer or the narrative forward as the lead should have done.

Milorad Djomlija as Julian
We quickly discover that Julian is a vampire – signalled in the dialogue as a separate species – the dracons are (according to IMDb) those infected with the pandemic that species jumped to the vampires making it more than the original infection. Caleb’s father had been working on a cure, Caleb seems immune and has developed fast healing. Julian will describe him as blood bonded. There is also a storyline around a pregnant girl (Sadie LeJeune) and a special baby.

I said that there was an issue with the web serial conception of this. The feature is short (as mentioned) and feels half-finished when we get to the end. What was undoubtedly a decent cliff-hanger for a serial feels like half a story in a feature. There also isn’t too much by way of action, a lot of what we see is set-up for an ongoing story rather than a mapped-out feature narrative. Some of the sfx is really well done but the creature effects can jar a little. This is quite a good job, for a budget piece, but the central character cannot carry the narrative, the exposition struggles because Caleb has no knowledge and it feels way too unfinished. 4 out of 10.

The serial’s imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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