It’s hard to imagine a werewolf film being inexorably boring, but Bloodthirsty manages it with aplomb. Directed by Amelia Moses, this Canadian horror film which has just played at FrightFest in London, is as tired and arduous as they come. And despite some promising moments, is largely a waste of the audiences time.
The story, limited as it is, revolves around Grey (Lauren Beatty) – a talented pop singer who is anxious about her second album flopping. She takes tablets for her condition and reports to Doctor Swan (Michael Ironside), who, by the way, is criminally underused here. Grey is having nightmares too, and in them she see’s herself devouring flesh & slowly turning into a werewolf. Her girlfriend Charlie (Katherine King So) is on hand to help, but the two are soon at loggerheads when Grey enlists the help of super producer Vaughn Daniels (Greg Bryk). Vaughan lives in a remote mansion in the middle of a snowy wilderness, an environment in which he never seems to leave. Despite Vaughan being accused of murdering one of his former artists some years ago, Grey insists on using his expertise and the three embark on a journey that will lead to nowhere good.
Bloodthirsty has hints of a film that wants to be thought provoking and meaningful. The idea that lycanthropy is used as a metaphor here for letting your inner artist free, and allowing your inner beast to thrive is tiresome. It’s familiar ground that countless films and TV shows have trodden and we all know by now how cruel the entertainment industry can be. But Bloodthirsty is so on the nose that any attempt it makes at subtlety are risible. Grey’s relationship with Vaughan is predictable. The usual artist & producer tension is displayed, and brought more to the fore when their shared thirst for flesh is thrown into the mix. And the inevitable decline in Grey and Charlie’s relationship will be obvious to anyone, even those who were born yesterday.
While aiming for high-art, director Amelia Moses fails to connect almost all of her punches. The idea that someone would seek the help of producer tried for murder, but willing to put those allegations aside because: 1) don’t believe everything you read, and 2) you’re more scared of your second album failing critically and commercially is absurd. While Bloodthirsty hints at the idea of becoming a werewolf existing only in Grey’s head, the execution is frightfully misjudged. If the film wants to look at the effects of how potentially horrific certain conditions can be, then it really should have tried harder, and not chosen to be be so abstract in its execution. If audiences are seeking a thought provoking horror, they could do worse than check out two superior efforts released this year in The Night and My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To.
Bloodthirsty is available on Digital Platforms and DVD from 30 August.