KICKING BLOOD (2021) Reviews and overview of vampire horror

 

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Kicking Blood is a 2021 Canadian horror film about a young female vampire who is weary of eternal life and intrigued by humans.

Directed by Blaine Thurier from a screenplay co-written with Leonard Farlinger. Produced by Jennifer Jonas.

The New Real Films production stars Alanna Bale, Luke Bilyk, Benjamin Sutherland, Ella Jonas Farlinger, Rosemary Dunsmore and Vinessa Antoine.

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Plot:

Vampire Anna (Alanna Bale) is disappointed with eternal life. She’s less guilt-stricken than tired — tired of the people she preys on, tired of having to say goodbye to people she likes. Her one mortal friend, Bernice (Rosemary Dunsmore), is deathly ill, and a chance encounter with suicidal alcoholic Robbie (Luke Bilyk) has only exacerbated her weariness.

Her fellow bloodsuckers see humans as food with an annoying tendency to talk back, but Anna is perplexed and even inspired by human foibles — specifically Robbie’s determination to kick booze and Bernice’s determination to live and die on her own terms…

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Reviews:

Kicking Blood is an unusual and intelligent spin on the vampire mythos […] Anna chooses her victims carefully but is finding it increasingly difficult to justify the bloodshed. It’s like a drug. Bale is impressive, both in terms of her on-screen charisma and innate vulnerability.” Backseat Mafia

“Aesthetically, Kicking Blood is lovely to look at and pulls you in with its style. Narratively it leaves you as cold as the snowy setting. The addiction to blood concept and vampires who revel in getting high from it makes for an interesting idea, but it’s only superficially explored […] It’s a breathtaking but somewhat empty waltz through vampirism.” Bloody Disgusting

“The movie lacks much more in terms of plot, but it is an interesting take, certainly. Bale is fantastic as Anna, the young vamp with a soft spot for her fellow addicted, and while the character is certainly vicious with other folk, particularly during the first third of the film, the flipping of the character to care for a human she sees with similar issues works really well and you will for a happy ending for all.” The Hollywood News

“The film has style in spades but lacks in depth and characterization. I never felt like I got into Anna or Robbie’s actual headspace enough to fall in love with their characters. Minor faults aside, Kicking Blood is an original spin on the vampire lore that kept me entertained and captivated as it barreled towards a meaningful and layered ending.” Josh at the Movies

“Horror fans may find it lacking in the thrills and chills department — it’s more of a character piece than a straight-up vampire flick, and there’s curiously little bloodshed — but Thurier’s imaginative spin on a tried and true formula makes Kicking Blood worthy of a second look.” The Lamplight Review

“Although it isn’t a lengthy film, which benefits it, some scenes go on for so long that you already want them to get to the point. The good moments you wish had lasted forever, but they would have gotten tiresome in extensive bits, and the worst of moments you just craved only lasted a couple of seconds. It suffers from its botched narrative, leaving Alanna Bale to try and carry it on her back, albeit she fails.” The Movie Buff

” …an introspective vampire movie that rarely unfolds as one might’ve assumed based on the premise and setup […] And although the picture admittedly does feel a little long even at 80 minutes, Kicking Blood is, for the most part, an accomplished and compulsively watchable endeavor.” Reel Film Reviews

“It’s the kind of script that demands a stronger visual language, and Thurier struggles a bit with dialogue, sometimes sounding like he’s purposefully mimicking B-movie clichés, but then faltering when he’s clearly attempting something more realistic. If you’re going to make a movie that’s compared to Romero and Gordon, you can’t do it halfway.” RogerEbert.com

“The supporting characters are underdeveloped, one never understands why Nina and Boris are so determined to keep Anna in the fold when they can turn whoever they want, so their actions come off as mere plot contrivances. Though a visually rich film, Kicking Blood lacks the narrative bite needed to make it truly memorable.” That Shelf

“Without Bale’s performance as Anna and the fun, campy camaraderie between her vampire friends, Kicking Blood wouldn’t live up to its compelling premise. By the time it ends though, there are so many ideas mined from a simple concept that it’s hard to fault the film when it makes such a compelling commentary on addiction and community.” Tilt

Release:

Kicking Blood had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 10, 2021.

Cast and characters:

Alanna Bale … Anna
Luke Bilyk … Robbie
Benjamin Sutherland … Boris
Ella Jonas Farlinger … Nina
Rosemary Dunsmore … Bernice
Vinessa Antoine … Vanessa
Shaun Austin-Olsen … Gerry
Telysa Chandler … Angela
Josh Bainbridge … Ben
Kristin Shepherd … Lara
Ron Tough … Senior Citizen
Ava Weiss … Six-year-old girl
Matt Connors … Gus
Kelly Martin … The Boss

Filming locations:

Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Technical details:

80 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Clip:

Plot synopsis via TIFF