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Review: BLOODLINE (2018)

Bloodline opens with a murder that’s noteworthy for a couple of reasons apart from getting the film off to a fast start. It’s unusually explicit with its nudity and bloodshed for a film from a mainstream production company, Blumhouse and distributor Momentum. And, the reveal of the victim’s identity will be a major turning point in the film.

Evan (Seann William Scott, American Pie, Final Destination) is a high school councillor dealing with troubled youth. He has a good job and wonderful wife Lauren (Mariela Garriga, Nightmare Cinema) who’s just given birth to their son. Even his mother Marie (Dale Dickey, The Possession of Michael King) is wonderfully supportive.

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But all is not well. Evan has a habit of sneaking out at night and killing those he considers responsible for his patients’ problems. But with a newborn in the house, it’s getting harder to hide his comings and goings. And Chris (Raymond Alexander Cham Jr.), the son of one of his victims and a suspicious cop Overstreet (Kevin Carroll, Velvet Buzzsaw) close in on his secret. People will have to make some tough moral choices.

The casting of Scott, best known as Stifler in the American Pie films, has raised a few eyebrows. But like Jim Carrey and Robin Williams before him, he makes the transition quite well. It may have helped in my case that I remember him more so from Final Destination, but I had no trouble taking him seriously in Bloodline.

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First-time director Henry Jacobson (he has produced several films, including The Wind), working from a script he co-wrote with Avra Fox-Lerner and Will Honley (The Hive) tells a tale that has more than a slight resemblance to Dexter. He’s a serial killer with a code of ethics. He’s trying to make the world a better place, one victim at a time.

However, as I mentioned earlier, about halfway through Bloodline we find out his criteria may be a little skewed. From there on, things begin circling downward in ways that might not be so easy for viewers to sympathize with. It does make for some thought-provoking moments, even if it ends up somewhere that’s more anticipated than shocking.

A good killer should have worthy victims, but Evan’s are rather dull clichés. There’s the rapist uncle whose defence is “She wanted it”. The abusive father who refers to his son as “That little faggot”. You get the idea. Fleshing them out a little would have made Bloodline a bit more interesting.

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One thing about the killings I did like was the giallo influences. Evan’s gloves aren’t leather, but they are black. His knife is nice and shiny, reflecting the light before he puts it to use. And the blood flows in rather copious amounts. Bloodline is certainly a stylish film when it needs to be, but that can’t rescue it from its script.

You could pick a much worse film for your night’s viewing, but Bloodline never manages to rise much above average.

Momentum Pictures will release Bloodline in theatres, on-demand and digital on September 20th.

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