Kicking Blood is a really goofy vampire flick, and I’m not sure how much if it is intentional. I was entertained nonetheless by Blaine Thurier’s film, even if it’s a bit of a buzzkill during the final third.
Alanna Bale (Enhanced) plays Anna, a meek library clerk who finds herself struggling and succumbing to her desires as a vampire. The taste of blood gives her a short-lived high of pure ecstasy but, even though the feeling is extraordinary, she feels regret for her actions. When Anna meets and is charmed by a recovering alcoholic, Robbie (Luke Bilyk of Black Conflux and The Marijuana Conspiracy), she’s inspired to turn a new leaf as well and distance herself from her traumatic lifestyle.
Thurier (former keyboardist of The New Pornographers and director/co-writer of 2015’s horror-comedy Teen Lust) has a lot of fun indulging vampire lore and tropes, despite the film’s melodrama eventually resembling a Twilight spin-off. The most entertaining bits of Kicking Blood is when Thurier pauses the story for standalone pieces involving Anna (and sometimes her blood-sucking cohorts) enticing strangers and trapping them for pleasure. The dialogue is juicy, the score amplifies the tension, and the performers are having a good time. Again, even if the exchanges look and sound too stilted, Thurier is thinking about satisfying audiences above anything else.
Kicking Blood, unfortunately, comes up short with its primary dynamic between Anna and Robbie. Bale and Bilyk have great chemistry as actors, but the relationship that’s supposed to bloom between the two troubled souls isn’t believable because they confide in each other too quickly. It’s understandable that these addicts are naturally attracted to each other’s flaws and empathy, but the unreliable pacing doesn’t allow these actors (or the filmmaker for that matter) to explore this relationship. Clocking in (before credits) at under 80 minutes, I’m confused why Kicking Blood was impatiently eager to race to its finish line.
Kicking Blood boils down to a minor disappointment with some really good moments.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie