DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS (2014) Reviews and overview

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Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is a 2014 romantic horror comedy film written and directed by Spike Lee. With a budget of just $1,418,910, it was the first of Lee’s films to be funded through Kickstarter. It stars Felicia Pearson, Elvis Nolasco, Zaraah Abrahams, Steven Hauck and Stephen Tyrone Williams.

The film was released on June 22, 2014, on American Black Film Festival as the closing film and was released theatrically and on VOD on February 13, 2015, by Gravitas Ventures.

Spike Lee said that film is about “Human beings who are addicted to blood. Funny, sexy and bloody. A new kind of love story (and not a remake of Blacula).”

“On the one hand, it’s exciting to see the always envelope-pushing Lee working without a studio- or distributor-imposed safety net (though he has typically enjoyed a high level of creative freedom even on his studio-backed projects). But while the film never lacks for ambition, it fails to satisfy emotionally or intellectually in the ways Lee intends. Both Williams and Abrahams give it their all, but never convince as an actual lovestruck couple…” Scott Foundass, Variety


“The performances are intriguing, but they are at such a remove that there’s zero emotional connection with what’s up on screen. The “rules” of this film’s specific vampirism are intentionally hazy (are the victims dead? undead? aware of their fate?) and Dr Greene’s snap transformation into a wily bloodsucker without the benefit of a learning curve is curiously frustrating. As a horror picture, quite frankly, it’s a bit of a disaster.” Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian


“Whenever Lee ventures away from the outrageous particulars of the plot, “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” transforms into a stylish means of exploring contemporary struggles in urban black America by depicting it as a ballet of navigating personal and practical conflicts alike: The marvellous credits sequence finds a dancer elegantly unfolding his body at the center of the Knicks’ courtroom, Battery Park City and elsewhere.” Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“All over the place, inarticulate and gravely goofy at time, the fine line between laughing with Lee and laughing at Lee’s movie is certainly blurred. Ultimately, for all its semi-weighty spiritual and societal concerns, “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” is an extremely difficult movie to take seriously and might be the closest we’ve seen to this director making a student film in public.” Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

Filming locations:
Martha’s Vineyard; New York City

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