Sunday, August 19, 2018

FAMILY BLOOD (2018) [Paul's Review]

In Family Blood, a recovering addict mom meets a mildly handsome vampire at a support group.  Not answered by movie: what other methods has the vampire tried to kick his habit first?

“Hi, my name is Vlad, and this is my first time.” “Hi Vlad.” “Hey, well, uh, I’m not sure where to begin.  At first I thought I could control it, you know, just kicking a couple back after dinner or at the game.  But then it was every night and I started to sleep through the days.  I guess it really hit home when I up and murdered my whole family.  There I was, just really going to town on my wife’s neck, when I looked up into the mirror and . . . you know how it goes, I didn’t recognize myself, it was like I wasn’t there. 

Pretty soon I was just wandering around at night, lost, aimless, murderous.  I’ve tried everything: cold turkey, hypnotism, V8.  But nothing helped. I don’t think I can do this on my own, and so I decided to give this a go.” 

*Murders support group.  Drinks their blood*

“Ah shit.  Back to the V8.”

But Family Blood isn’t really about the vampire at the support group.  It’s actually about the mom whom he turns into a vampire because vampires don't do drugs.  The rest of the movie is about vampire mom doing vampire things and dealing with the hijinks of her plucky kids who think she’s back on drugs.  She scarfs down a Kleenex with blood on it.  She eats the neighbor’s cat. These are the kinds of quirky things that a vampire mom does. 

Why isn’t Family Blood called Vampire Mom?  It isn’t because that name was taken.  No, you might have thought you’ve seen Vampire Mom, but you’re probably thinking of the very similar 2000 Disney Channel Movie Mom’s Got A Date With a Vampire. 

Thanks to a breezy plot synopsis on IMDB that I had way too much fun reading, I now know that Mom’s Got A Date with a Vampire is sort of like Family Blood, but with more action, fun, and sex.  The kids in that movie, eager to get out from being grounded, set their mom up with a guy from a personals ad named “Wolfsbane” who “hates turtlenecks and Italian food.”  

Family Blood also plays with tropes, but more in a "can you guess which trope is real in this made-up universe?"  In this world, vampires do not cast reflections, but they can come in without an invitation, they can be killed with a stake to a heart, but they don’t have an issue going out in sunlight or handling crucifixes.  So the kids in Family Blood have to try all the stuff.  
What about fire? I think, and garlic?  Do they shimmer?  Play baseball with tree trunks? One of the benefits of having a vampire mom is mythbusting the hell out of vampires.  “Stake works” is the actual catchphrase the kid says after staking his wanna-be vampire stepfather.  

That might all make it seem like Family Blood is fun, but even the best lines, usually given by Mr. Vampire, are delivered with intense brooding seriousness.  Family Blood aims for slow and sinister, but ends up plodding and enervated.  It’s like bleeding out slowly.  Not in a cool, tragic, lovely way, like in the arms of your vampire lover but rather in the uncomfortable awkwardness of a newbie nurse trying to take your blood but always missing the vein and perforating your arm.
Ominous airy piano chords trudge through the minor keys.  Extreme close-up after extreme close-up of faces giving serious, meaningful looks.  A waitress dies, blood-stained white sheets billow slowly, in extreme close-up.  Then extreme close-up of feet in a shower, blood swirling down the drain. 

Symbolism.  More piano chords.  More feet.  

Different shower tile, however.  You use the guest bathroom, Mr. Vampire! But at least they are both symbolically clean of all the murderin'. But then when the son goes to confront the vampire we see that the mom has gotten back in the blood-soaked bed. 

The son looks on in horror.  Who will do the laundry now that mom’s a vampire?  Who?!

Not anyone from this movie, since basically everybody who has a speaking line dies.  The most derp-worthy is the girlfriend, who is being held by vampire mom.  The son menaces his mom with an outstretched wooden stake.  “Let her go!” he says.  So the mom, in a fit of willpower, flings her would-be prey from her. . . and directly onto the stake.  Girlfriend dies anyway, the son feels guilty and mom didn’t even get to drink her blood.  It’s a lose-lose-lose!  So fitting for this movie!

Come to think of it, this whole movie seems to be about super passive aggressive parenting techniques.  The son steps on a nail.  He tracks blood all over the floor.  The mom sighs and then cleans it up . . . with her tongue!  

Son: “Uh, mom, I can get that with a rag or something.” 

Mom: *stops licking floor* “Well you didn’t, did you? and now I have to clean this whole place.   With my tongue.  By all means, don’t let your mother’s sense of basic hygiene get in the way of your bleeding out.”

Questions for Joe:
1.  There is a non-comedic stake-making montage in this movie.  The son goes to a hardware store, gets materials, and then takes them to the high school shop room to use some heavy equipment.  What’s harder, 3D-printing a gun or making a wooden stake?

JD: This seems like an easy question. You just go to the stake section at Home Depot, but what if they're out of the right size? So you either have to take on Vampire Step-Dad with tiny stakes, or a great big awkward one? 3D printing a gun is super hard. Everything with printers is hard. But maybe that's not what you're getting at. Is this an SEO thing? Are we trying to get that coveted FBI readership?? Because I gotta tell ya, it's a great idea! That would double us up!

I AM QANON! Vampire mothers are killing democracy! 3D printed steaks are the only things that can save us! Filet Mignon has now been invented by America! YEEEE HAWWWW. Pageviews, pageviews, pageviews!

2.  You think this movie is going to be about the mom fighting addiction and becoming a vampire, but halfway through it becomes a movie about the son fighting his mom’s vampire boyfriend.  Which is the better movie?

JD: I think addiction is the most interesting thing ever if you've been through it, and the least interesting thing ever if you haven't. It's like fantasy football.

Step parents are pretty common and they're also pretty drama-worthy, ask Hamlet! I think there are a lot of interesting directions a vampire step-dad movie could take, but I'm only currently aware of the ones it shouldn't, thanks to Family Blood.

3.  The neighbor says that someone has been leaving screws and nails and sharp edges around the neighborhood, apparently in an attempt to get her to sell her house.  What?

JD: Too bad she didn't tell the son, that would have saved him like half his stake-building montage. Also, if it were just screws or just nails that'd be a nightmare. But if they're leaving both, well now you can just walk around and cover your wood-securing bases. If they'd leave some nuts and washers every bookshelf in the neighborhood would practically install itself. And just think of the towel racks.

4.  That house looks nice to me.  Why does the mom keep talking about how bad her situation is and how rough the neighborhood is?  Is it because of the screws?

JD: It's because she has kids.

5.  How do you think that vampire tried to kick his habit before going to the support group?

JD: He was probably all like "I'm going to rip my habit of ripping throats out's throat out!" It's tough, you know. When you're a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Speaking of which, if the step-dad had BEEN a hammer, he could have really done a lot of good in that neighborhood.

Now, check out Joe's review of Family Blood here!  (link inbound, write that review, Joe!)

No comments:

Post a Comment