The Bleeding House is a 2011 American horror feature film directed by Philip Gelatt. It stars Alexandra Chando, Patrick Breen, Charlie Hewson and Richard Bekins.
Low budget horror is arguably at its best when it works within the confines of its restraints, and The Bleeding House is a good example of this. A fairly minimalist tale of sin and retribution, the film remains a low key, character-driven piece that explores its ideas with varying degrees of success.
The Bleeding House is, if nothing else, an admirable attempt to offer a new twist on the ‘home invasion’ genre, with stereotypical Southern gentleman Nick (Breen) turning up at an isolated family home in the middle of the night claiming that his car has broken down. No prizes for guessing that he turns out to be less the friendly man with the non-stop chatter and more the vengeance-crazed killer.
Where the film takes a left turn and becomes more interesting is that the family he has picked are not merely random selections. This is a family living in chosen isolation, ostracised from the local town because of an unspoken of moment of horror that they have been involved in.
The film toys with what awful thing they might have done but keeps it ambiguous – even when we hear confessions, there’s no guaranteeing that they are the truth.
However, they are a decidedly odd bunch -– teenage daughter Gloria (Chando) prefers to be called Blackbird, collects dead things and seems to be on the path from animal killing to serial killing, while mother Marilyn (Betsy Aidem) is a bundle of nerves and cuts everyone’s meat during dinner, the household knives significantly kept locked away.
Meanwhile, attorney husband Matt (Richard Bekins) tries to maintain an air of normality -– even if he can no longer find any work –- and only son Quentin (Hewson) seems ‘normal’, determined to escape the self-imposed exile and smothering atmosphere of his family and run away with his girlfriend as soon as possible.
The arrival of Nick throws things into relief as the family are forced to face their demons by confronting someone much worse. Nick, in his white linen suit, is a self-appointed angel of vengeance, seeking out wrong-doers and taking his own form of retribution – the title comes from his unique form of murderous blood transfusions.
Director Philip Gelatt keeps his monster suitably ambiguous – there are a lot of unanswered questions, and these seem to range from deliberate mysteries to possible plot holes that no amount of dialogue – and believe me, Nick barely shuts up for a second – can cover.
The most interesting aspect of the film that is unfortunately undeveloped is the relation between Nick and Gloria, who he immediately sees the potential in. Why a man who is taking retribution against sinners would want to encourage a budding psycho killer is never really clear, but the film does play with the idea that she could be a bigger monster than he is – as she states towards the end, he kills because he is on a mission, but she does it for pleasure.
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The Bleeding House has decent performances (not something you can always say about micro budget efforts), a nice growing sense of horror and fascinating characters; it also has too much dialogue, a couple of plodding moments and is possibly too murky in terms of the dark visuals and the muddy back story. Yet these faults don’t prevent it from being a fairly impressive twist on the genre.
David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA