Parenting Is Bloody Business
Blood Relatives, written by Noah Segan (Francis), is a great vampire-comedy that he stars in and is also his directorial debut. It is a coming-of-age story about a 30-something, night traveling, and motorhead. His Arthur ‘Fonzie’ Fonzarelli wannabe persona awakes to deal with current real-life teen problems and other issues all in a comical vampire flick. Victoria Moroles (Jane) is the dhampir love child of Francis. After suddenly losing her mother, Jane tracks down Francis in the Midwest and confronts him at a roadside motel.
Francis learns he has a teenage girl whose mother just died. The viewer watches the beginning of a teen daughter, Jane’s “I hate you”, and Francis’ “can I drop you somewhere” motif attitude funnily blossom into a nurturing, loving relationship of bloody satisfaction.
Blood Relatives’ cast members seamlessly fit into each role and drive the plot forward with a great balance of timely dialogue and action. The casting of Victoria Moroles (Jane) was the last nail in the coffin. Jane’s dhampir role makes this a fun movie to watch. The way Francis and Jane flow together in their first full scene in the hotel room brings out the emotions of an unwanted teenager seeking a connection with a runaway dad.
The natural chemistry between Jane’s and Frank’s tag team protagonist roles sparks the viewers’ interest and keeps that interest for ninety minutes. In the first scene, Jane quickly comes across as the teenager that often spills her soup, or in this case blood, and Francis is the person it lands on and is left to clean up her mess. This Yiddish “schlemiel, schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated” pair brings to light a brilliant, humorous, coming-of-age, family-friendly vampire comedy that three generations can enjoy on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon after taking part in religious bread-breaking or cannibalism at a synagogue or a church.
This is not an attempt to minimize Blood Relatives’ other actors and actresses like Akasha Villalobos (Hilda), Tracie Thoms (Ms. Shelling), Karina Dominguez (Cousin Bonnie), etc., because all cast members play an important role in driving the story arcs forward with dialogue, subtext, and action.
Nevertheless, this is a story about Francis, an unwilling vampire father, Jane, his abandoned dhampir daughter, and a muscle car that ride across the screen. A 1969 Barracuda Fastback co-stars alongside Francis and Jane. The amount of screen time, dialogue, and focus on the rare color, options, and engine combination given to the Barracuda and a couple of other muscle cars that appear with a shelve full of parts, and a repair shop may get the gearheads to poke their head out of the garage for quality time with family.
This is when the laughs can begin once the grandparents, parents, and children are all together around the television watching Blood Relatives.
A Movie for All…
This movie may be a pass for viewers that are gore freaks, but if these fans sit down and open up to the viewing experience, they will see a movie that should not be overlooked. Blood Relatives has a great coming-of-age, structurally sound storyline that first-time director Noah Segan and, in the words of award-winning cinematographer Andrew Scott Baird, “[perfectly marries art, technology, and psychology]” through the lens and brings to the screen an enjoyable, family-friendly, scary movie.
Through the camera lens, Noah (director) and Andrew (DP) manage to agree on a shot list that balances story and dialogue in a funny but serious way with blood, thrillers, suspense, and a little touch of depressing gore. The two accomplish this with collaboration by choosing to balance the story with cinematography techniques such as lighting, angles, and types of shots. The choice to use film techniques over spraying blood, oozing guts, and untimely gore is what makes Blood Relatives a must-watch for all horror fans and, in the process, opens the genre to all movie lovers.
Blood Relatives, a Shudder original, is a must for all horror fans, especially those that have not come together as a family to enjoy a movie with their tween and teen children. The PG level of horror in this vampire flick can allow parents to share space with their children that don’t want anything to do with them since they discovered boys or girls. It is funny, a bit scary, and deals with real-life historical and present-day issues in a non-preachy way. A great film to gather the family together for 90 minutes after dinner. Ultimately, it bites the family with another fatherly dilemma when a prominent monster, known as the teenage boy, howls into Jane’s life begging if there is a feud sequel on the horizon for Noah Segan’s Blood Relatives.
Blood Relatives (2022) Official Shudder Trailer