Blood Demons Poster

Blood Demons (2024) Review

Blood Demons opens with the Welsh rap outfit Goldie Lookin’ Chain (GLC) sitting by the sea getting stoned. Now when I say Welsh rappers I mean rappers from Wales, not that they wrap in Welsh. And that’s too bad because hearing them spittin rhymes about the bitches and hos of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch and not giving a fuck if they Tynnu Nyth Cacwn Am Dy Ben would be pretty impressive.

Something else that must be pretty impressive is the weed they’re smoking because they don’t even notice the robed figures who appear and start biting their necks. Less impressive however are the plants Jake (James E. Taylor, Axel Falcon, Bella in the Wych Elm), Tony (Cameron Nathan Dean, Cornerstone, Save Luna) and Dominic (James Underwood) are growing. That’s because they’ve managed to kill them all, something their boss, the steampunk obsessed Mr. P., played by Kieran Edwards, who also wrote and directed Blood Demons, is not happy about.

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After being tortured and forced to bury his friends alive, Jake is given a chance to save his own life. He simply has to go to the Isle of Baga and bring back the seed of the incredibly rare and potent strain of cannabis known as Sabertooth. Since he and his uncle Professor Moses (Gary Baxter, Beyond Fury, Cleaver: Rise of the Killer Clown) were already going to a music festival there, he might just be able to get out of this alive.

This is Edwards’ second feature, his first The Devil’s Familiar was an hour long found footage film. Blood Demons comes in at over twice that length, running two hours and fifteen minutes, forty-five minutes of which are over before we even get to Baga. And therein lies the problem with Blood Demons, it’s too long and moves way too slowly until they get to the island, which is home to not just the music festival and weed that’s to die for, but standing stones, rune cults and vampires. Once we get there, the pacing picks up, but still needs trimming.

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There is plenty of good material, and a cast that also includes the likes of Dani Thompson (Burnt Flowers, Eating Miss Campbell) as the mysterious Mylee and Richard Rowbottom (Lonnie Knutsengripper: Man, Myth and Movies, Day of the Stranger) as Andy an innkeeper with secrets of his own. But the film’s good moments are all too often separated by way too much padding and scenes that run way too long, especially during the first half.

From a technical standpoint, Blood Demons wears its low budget proudly. It was obviously shot on video, with plenty of blue tinted day for night scenes and cheesy digital effects of vampires bursting into flames. In other words, it’s a flashback to the early days of SOV horror. There’s even the digital equivalent of the obviously fake bats from Hammer’s Scars of Dracula, which Edwards cites as one of the film’s inspirations.

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With that kind of nostalgia and a barrage of stakes, revelations overall weirdness, the sequences on Baga go a long way towards redeeming Blood Demons. If the film could have hit this pace and level of inventiveness sooner, we would have a genuine treat on our hands.

Instead, Blood Demons comes off as a very mixed bag with the first half at times feels like a rough cut waiting to be edited, rather than the final version. If you can get past that, liberal use of fast-forward is recommended, the second half is much better, apart from a near endless foot chase. I’m somewhat torn on what to give it as a final rating but, the scenes in the first part that do work, and much of the stuff on the island are enjoyable enough to give it three stars with the caveat to keep the remote handy.

Blood Demons is currently playing festivals, with a DVD and Blu-ray release planned for later in the year. You can check the Severed Head Entertainment Facebook page for updates.

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Our Score

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