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Review: DRY BLOOD (2018)

We did an interview with Kelton Jones, the director of DRY BLOOD a few weeks back and that had me seriously anticipating the film. Well, the screener has arrived and been watched, was it worth the wait?

Brian (Clint Carney, who also wrote the script) is an addict hitting rock bottom. He picks up, heads to a cabin he owns out in the woods to try and straighten out. He’s no sooner there however than he catches the attention of the local sheriff (Kelton Jones, The Evil Down The Street, Miranda Veil). Attention that is soon pushing the boundaries of harassment.

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As if this isn’t bad enough, he’s seeing things, very unpleasant things. Is the cabin haunted, or are they hallucinations caused by his withdrawal from drugs and booze? The arrival of his friend Anna (Jaymie Valentine) should help. Instead, things go further down the rabbit hole, and what waits at the end is not going to be pretty.

DRY BLOOD is a somewhat schizophrenic film, The first hour is something of a slow burn, punctuated by occasional jarring moments. In the last half hour, though, it slams the hammer down with an explosion of gore and very convincing effects. The shift is so jarring it feels like it’s from an entirely different movie. It’s also a brutal kick in the teeth that ends the film on an intense note.

Carney and Jones have taken a well-worn plot device and done something interesting and different with it. The script never goes quite where you expect it to, but it does play fair with the audience. There is one scene that, if you catch it, tells you what the real situation is. But in all of the mindfuckery over what is and isn’t real, it’s an easy clue to miss.

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DRY BLOOD benefits from some excellent cinematography by Graham Sheldon. It really helps set the mood and convey a sense of claustrophobia and impending doom. Even early shots of the mountains that should be beautiful are rendered ominous.

Clint Carney also deserves special mention for his performance as Brian. He really comes off as a guy you want to root for, to see beat his demons, even as it becomes more and more obvious his troubles run very deep. Even as you begin to realize the truth, a part of you wants to deny it.

For a microbudget effort filmed mostly in one location, DRY BLOOD delivers a lot. The first hour may tax some viewer’s patience, but the payoff at the end is worth it.

Epic Pictures will release DRY BLOOD through Dread Central Presents on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray January 15th.

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