I gotta say that this is one great piece of writting... and I'm not just saying that because it's a highly positive review. This guy has a knack for review writtin' and it's no surprise that he's a senior writer on a popular website.
After reading please take the time (by clickin' the pic) to visit the website, especially if you're into horror flicks. It's a great one!
Direct link to review: http://www.monstersatplay.com/review/dvd/m/miyb.php
Thanks Carl! Again, please visit: http://www.monstersatplay.com
As I've said before in many reviews, I adore indie film. There's a certain charm in a movie that is driven, not by corporate number-crunchers, but instead by the filmmaker's true love for their craft. True, I've seen some pretty bad movies that were shot on a camcorder or a crusty 16mm that were, to put it bluntly, unnecessary. Why should one bother making another tepid slasher or zombie flick when there's already a vast library of these kinds of movies, either equally atrocious or vastly superior? To be fair, there have certainly been some low-budget indies in these genres that bring something new to the table, but many have sadly been more of the same.
Lucky for me and my originality-lovin' heart, I've had a veritable deluge of top-notch independents come my way recently. Highly original, satisfying movies like In Memorium and Deadwood Park have reaffirmed my love for the self-funders and the camcorder jockies, and my latest excursion into indie, Moonlight in Your Blood, has cemented it tightly into the cockles of my heart.
A recent med school grad, Evan Hart (S. Eli Harris) is celebrating his passing by the seat of his pants with his girlfriend Carolyn (Monica Walsh) over a glass of wine (to which she makes a sly, foreshadowing Dracula reference). When Carolyn cuts her finger while doing the dishes, Evan thoughtlessly pops her damaged digit into his mouth, tasting her blood and igniting the forbidden need for it in his brain. Soon, he is coercing her into letting him bite her and drink of her blood in their bedroom games, despite her protestations that what they're doing seems wrong.
Soon, her moral sense overcomes his lust, and Evan is left without his fix. Desperate, he tells her that the fatigue that she has been experiencing lately is a symptom of hemochromatosis, a disease that gives her dangerously high iron levels in the blood. Her only option are regular phlebotomies (bloodletting) to reduce her high iron levels. However, to make things “easier” for her, Evan offers to administer the treatments out of their shared home. Little does Carolyn know, however, that Evan is not disposing of her blood, but instead gorging himself on it, feeding himself ever-increasing quantities of her blood to satiate his growing lust.
The major downfall of a micro-budget endeavor such as this (the budget was a scant $500) is that often the filmmakers will forget to offer up a compelling narrative. Moonlight In Your Blood, despite its extremely small budget and minimal cast, feeds the viewer enough over its hour to satisfy, yet still keep a certain air of mystery. One could simply write this off as a simple vampire tale, but there are no solar allergies, superhuman strength, transforming into bats, or fangs to be had here. Instead, we're given a man giving in to his addictions, but instead of drugs or alcohol, it's his lover's life. As a cautionary, after-school special type of tale, it would work quite well. However, with the added grotesqueness of Harts voracious quaffing of Carolyn's blood, later to the point that he vomits it up before scooping it back into his mouth again, hits that primal chord that makes the viewer squirm in their seat.
Certainly helping our suspension of disbelief is the strength of the two characters and their practically electric on screen chemistry. Harris' portrayal of Hart, starting off as a nervous, experimental man who quickly spirals down into a manipulative glutton is chilling at times, drawing all the right responses from the viewer. When he lied to Carolyn about her supposed condition, I caught myself cursing him under my breath for being, to put it crudely, a selfish prick. Equally chilling are his scenes in the bathroom, gulping down her blood like an alcoholic trying to get the last dregs out of the bottle. Monica Walsh is conversely a very sympathetic character, offering herself up in their sexual encounters simply to make her boyfriend happy, then having these small sacrifices thrown back in her face when she discovers Hart's betrayal of her trust. True, some of the sympathy washes away when she stupidly comes back to him after she walks out, only to get tied up for forced phlebotomies (subtle shades of Boxing Helena, eh?), but one still feels pity for the poor thing. Especially surprising was the steamy eroticism in the aforementioned bedroom scenes, with Evan passionately kissing and licking her skin and Carolyn writhing in both delight and apprehension, nervous about the imminent bite she would receive. It was both erotic and disturbing in one fell swoop, and both actors' considerable abilities give it an air of credibility that I rarely see in movies.
Shot in a moody black and white, Moonlight In Your Blood uses the greatly reduced color palette to give a rather nice picture. Even though the camera it was shot on was certainly nothing special, the lack of color all but eliminated the normal muddiness that can plague DV productions. Even nicer was the decision to shoot in scope (again, a rarity for DV productions), that director Philip David Hogan uses to give a disorienting, claustrophobic eye to the proceedings (including a brutal beating seen only in the reflection of a doorknob). Audio was also surprisingly clear, with very clear dialogue and perfectly mixed music, although the song in the bathroom, with its repeated wails of “I'm alive,” got under my skin in a not-too-nice way. However, the sparse score by Kevin Macleod worked out very well, adding mood without overwhelming the on screen actions.
All in all, Moonlight In Your Blood is a quick and nasty piece of human horror, with well-developed characters and a brain-twisting story at its core that will leave you feeling at least a little dirty. It's making its run at festivals as we speak, so if you have the chance to check it out, it's an hour well spent.
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