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Review: BLOOD BAGS (2018)

Blood Bags is the first feature from Emiliano Ranzani. He’d done several shorts before this, but it was one of his writing credits that grabbed my attention. He, along with Scarlett Amaris, (who is one of three writers credited on Blood Bags) and Richard Stanley wrote “Mother Of Toads” Stanley’s segment for The Theatre Bizarre. That alone was reason enough to check this film out.

After an opener that sees two would-be thieves break into an old mansion and find it’s not as deserted as they thought, we meet our two protagonists. Tracy (Makenna Guyler, Coulrophobia, The Barge People) and Petra (Marta Tananyan) two college students in Turin. Tracy is studying photography and gets Petra to come along as she looks for old houses to photograph.

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Finding an abandoned, (and familiar-looking), building, she decides to sneak in an open window to get some interiors. Of course, this doesn’t end well.

While it’s nice to see new horror coming from Italy, it’s also hard not to compare it with what’s come before. Plot-wise, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. It’s well enough done, and the last half hour builds up some nice momentum. But the attempt at having Blood Bags go out with a shock just leaves a huge cliché where the final scene should have been. How anybody could have thought that ending would work is beyond me.

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Back in the day, Blood Bags would have been a bloodbath. The opening text giving the definition of Gunther Disease certainly sets us up for one. But while there’s a couple of nice effects, the film is short on gore. And that’s a pity, as I kept imagining what Fulci or Argento would have done with that setup. A creepy old house, a creature, DIY medical procedures. They would have had a field day.

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We do at least get some imaginative photography and atmospheric shots’ courtesy of Ranzani who’s also the camera operator on Blood Bags. They help make the film a lot more effective than it really has a right to be. Some of it, once we realize the creature’s nature and who the other characters are, is actually fairly evocative. Sometimes the creature isn’t the worst monster around.

High Octane Pictures will release Blood Bags December 3 on DVD and Digital. It’s not essential viewing by any means, but it will at least make a nice change from Christmas themed films.

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