Actor Noah Segan (The Pale Door, Mohawk) follows up “M.I.S.T..E.R.” his segment from last year’s Scare Package with his first feature, Blood Relatives, a comedy that proves blood, and the thirst for it, is thicker than water.
Francis (Noah Segan) is a vampire. He keeps to himself and travels the backroads trying to avoid attention. He’s been doing a fairly good job of it too until the clerk at a motel makes a comment about a girl who can’t be more than sixteen in his room. He’s confused, but as it turns out she’s right. The girl’s name is Jane (Victoria Moroles, Down a Dark Hall, Teen Wolf), and she claims to be his daughter by way of an indiscretion while he was passing through Elk River. And she has the fangs to prove it.
Since that’s more convincing proof than any paternity test Francis has to adjust to being a father rather quickly. And although his first instinct is to take her back to where she came from, that involves a father/daughter road trip that begins to hav ab effect on him that he didn’t expect.
Vampire comedies are nothing new. Neither are comedies about people suddenly discovering that they’re parents. Blood Relatives combines the two for an off-beat road movie that mixes dark humour with serious observations brought about by vents in Segan’s life.
“After 15 years of making fun/weird/cool movies, I had a kid. And, all of a sudden, this cinematic vampire had to be a dad.”Noah Segan
There are actually a lot more serious than funny elements in Blood Relatives. Serious not so much in a straight horror sense but in horror adapted to more conventional drama. We’ve all seen films about a wayward parent trying to actually raise their child. And that’s what Francis ends up doing when none of Jane’s human relatives want her. But how do you do that when you can’t go out during the day and have a bad habit of feeding on the neighbours?
Despite a few other interesting characters such as the Renfield like Roger (Josh Ruben, Scare Me, A Wounded Fawn) and Sylvie (C.L. Simpson, As They Made Us, Twisted Sisters) one of the few people who know Francis’s true nature, Blood Relatives is very much a two character film. Thankfully the two leads are up to it, something that concerned me with Segan playing so much against his usual style and my not having seen Moroles before.
Thankfully the pair have excellent chemistry and are quite believable as the blood-drinking father and daughter. He’s quite convincing as the reluctant father who can’t bring himself to just walk away. For her part, Moroles avoids taking the easy way out and playing Jane as a pouty, angsty goth girl. Instead, she focuses on the character’s anger and confusion at being born into this kind of life.
While I do wish there had been more outright funny moments in Blood Relatives I understand why the humour was kept low-key. Big laugh out loud moments would ruin the more serious and personal mood of the film. And as much as I’m not a huge fan of dramas, especially domestic ones, that was the right call here. While I’m sure Blood relatives would have been quite funny if it had gone in that direction it still would have been just one of a million comedies about drinking blood and working the graveyard shift.
Instead, it’s something different and fairly unique. It’s a father/daughter coming-of-age film that despite it’s macabre twist is still about the characters’ underlying humanity and is all the more effective, and even occasionally touching, because of it.
Blood Relatives had its world premiere at this year’s Fantastic Fest and is currently available to stream on Shudder.