I’ve said it before here at the site and I will continue to say it until I’m otherwise proven incorrect. Australian filmmakers can do no wrong when making horror movies. The last ten or so years I’ve seen one gem after another pop up from down under. When Blood Vessel was brought to my attention and I learned it was an Australian made spooky flick set on a ship at sea I was in. Within less than forty-eight hours, which is damn fast for me, I was watching the movie.
The movie kicks off at towards the end of the second World War. We see some survivors adrift at sea after their ship was torpedoed by a German U-Boat. They are in a desperate situation as supplies are running low but are ecstatic to see a ship bearing down on them. They are saved… until they notice the Swastika. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. They managed to climb aboard the ship, losing someone in the effort. Almost immediately they notice something strange. They aren’t met by the crew. After some searching, they start to find bodies, burnt to a crisp, as well as a little girl hiding. This leads to them finding a lone German sailor locked in the hold guarding something. By the time they learn what he was guarding from the creepy pictures and book in the Captain’s cabin it is too late. A terrible evil is on the loose and they are all in serious trouble.
Before I start in on my review, I need to warn you guys that there will be spoilers. I can’t really explain why I dig this movie so much without doing so. The short of it is that I love Blood Vessel and highly recommend that everyone check it out. Now that you have been warned I’m going to continue.
This is an ambitious and well executed movie. I’m a big history nerd so the fact that they did such a good job on a small budget making things look right was fantastic. From the setting, they shot on a restored ship from the correct era, to the costumes it was spot on. The story is well crafted and while somewhat familiar there is a twist to what is going on that I didn’t see coming until we were halfway thru the runtime. I thought Blood Vessel was going to be about a haunted ship or some demonic occult thing, but it isn’t that at all. This is an old-fashioned balls to the wall vampire flick! Not that sparkly teen heartthrob crap. These vampires are real monsters that ooze evil and look terrifically creepy. It is also a family affair as we get not only mom and dad but daughter as well so there is a lot to like here.
The dialogue is solid, and the cast does a fantastic job bringing their characters to the screen. I thought it was cool that they managed to include most of the allies among the survivors that end up on the Nazi ship. Americans, Russians, Australians, and the English are all represented. Again, I’m a history nerd so I notice things like this. The lighting and ambient sound accentuate the already creepy setting and make for a nice bit of atmosphere. This is also helped by the way they stage several scenes where we can see things going on behind the characters and know something terrible is about to happen. I dig that.
The kills are fun and include someone getting turned into chum by a propeller, a guy shot thru the eyeball, and numerous throats being ripped out. We also get to see a lot of gooey bodies laying around. The makeup on the vampires is excellent and runs the gamut from the almost human little girl to the monstrous father vampire. This is all practical effects work and is pulled off nicely. This is something else that I notice a lot with the movies coming from Australia, they love practical effects work.
I could keep blathering on about Blood Vessel, but I think you get it already. I don’t often have a chance to see a new monster movie that makes me this excited. It is one of the best movies I’ve seen all year and highly recommend everyone check it out.
© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer