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Bloodline Killer (2024) Review

Bloodline Killer begins on Halloween Eve when Connor (James Gaudioso, Mid-Century, The Ghost and the Whale) sees his father killed by the masked serial killer known as Skulleton (Adam Shippey, The Many Saints of Newark, The Family Fang). He tries to save him but to no avail, and the only thing that saves him is his mother Moira (Shawnee Smith, Iron Eagle, Saw X) putting several bullets into the killer. That drops him, but while she wasn’t looking, the body vanishes.

At the hospital, Connor and his brother Michael (Drew Moerlein, Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose, South of Hell) almost get in a fight over Connor not being able to their father. Detective Cypher (Tyrese Gibson, Squealer, Fast X) and his partner Detective Fink (Kresh Novakovic, Midnight Hustle, The Night Never Sleeps) find out that someone claiming to be a cop has already interviewed the hospitalized Moira. And we find out that Skulleton is her cousin.

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Elsewhere, Samantha (Taryn Manning, The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, Every Last One of Them), the killer’s sister finds him and drugs him so she can bring him home and tend to his wounds. “I’m a nurse now, I’ll take care of you.” The film then skips forward a year, and can you guess what happens then?

Director Ante Novakovic (Sanctioning Evil, American Fright Fest) and writers/actors James and Anthony Gaudioso, who previously co-wrote Medium and co-directed The Ghost and the Whale, had me asking questions early on. Unfortunately, they were questions like “Why is Moira hospitalized and how did her arm get injured?”

And that’s about all the mystery we get from Bloodline Killer. Despite the long setup, the script very promptly gives away things that needed to stay hidden until much later in the film. By the thirty-five-minute mark, when Mora is seeing her therapist, Dr. Lucien (Bruce Dern, The’Burbs, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch) you can connect the dots and put much of the backstory together, so there are no surprises later in a film that still has an hour and ten minutes to go.

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What’s worse is, the script goes on as if there was some mystery to be pieced together. We know who the killer is, and we know why he’s targeting Moira and her family, but Bloodline Killer still tries to misdirect us because the filmmakers apparently think we’re too stupid to understand what they’ve shown us.

Instead, we spend way too long dealing with Connor acting like a dysfunctional asshole while his brother tries to get back together with his ex (Montanna Gillis, The Vatican Tapes, American Fighter) before Lee starts his dull and mostly bloodless killing spree. Moira, of course, knows what’s happening when the first victim is found, but the cops, of course, refuse to believe her. They keep telling her he must have died from her bullets last year, even after some of them turn up dead.

If this sounds like an attempt to start a franchise along the lines of Halloween, you’re right. And there are certainly worse templates to use for making a slasher. Unfortunately, it’s done so poorly that slasher fans will end up wishing they were watching Busta Rhymes punching out Michael Myers in Halloween Resurrection than this mess.

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At an hour and forty-five minutes, Bloodline Killer is way longer than it needs to be, given its lack of surprises, scares or almost any entertainment value of any kind. Even the one potentially exciting scene, the final confrontation with Lee, is so dark that it’s like watching shadows beating on each other.

I was hoping Bloodline Killer would be a solid entry into the slasher genre, but unfortunately it makes just about every mistake imaginable, and keeps on making it for much longer than it should. The only good thing I can say is there’s no worry of this becoming a franchise, after this any plans for a sequel are DOA.

Bloodline Killer is available on Digital Platforms via Vertical Entertainment.

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