Movie Review: Blood Child (2017)

September 12, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

After we have the hoary ol’ chestnut of “based on a true story” flashed before our eerie eyeballs we catch up with Bill and Ashely “Ash” DiAngelo (Biden Hall and Alyx Melone respectively), a married couple livin’ high on the hog in Singapore with a baby on the way…well, until it isn’t. So after that disturbing, crimson splashed miscarriage, Ash sinks into an understandable deep depression. So what is a femme in a funk to do? Why carry out the ancient East Asian practice of raising a “ghost child” as one does, much to the eternal chagrin of Ash’s maid Siti (Cynthia Lee MacQuarrie). Long story short, Ash contacts a witch doctor whom specializes in trapping unborn dead fetuses. Before you can say “monumentally shitty idea”, the couple (along with Siti) returns home to Minnesota where they discover they are pregnant..and let’s just say that ghost tyke ain’t taking a cotton to being the big sis to any flesh and blood bouncin’ baby! Good thing they brought Siti along, because she will undoubtedly be the only one with half a clue on how to deal with these supernatural shenanigans!
Let’s get to gettin’ with the good that Blood Child has to offer. First of all, the mythology of the “ghost child” itself is a unique and exotic concept, and kudos to Writer/Director Jennifer Phillips for mining that untapped vein of horror biz goodness, and presenting it with some sequences of genuine spooky ambience! Also of note is the creepy/cool aesthetics of the piece. the color palette is subdued and drab, adding a feeling of “coldness” to the proceedings that fit the bill of this ghostly terror tale perfectly, and some of the acting is superb, especially that of MacQuarrie as Siri; a font of paranormal knowledge, superstition, and even some subtle comedy. But speaking of the acting…
In the negative department, what the hell is up with Alyx Melone? She goes from totally believable in the opening minutes of the film (she is especially effective in the miscarriage scene), then goes on to become a human porcelain doll; beautiful and ethereal, but completely devoid of personality. Did her check not clear, or was this a deliberate choice of actor and director…and if it was, why?!! I have to admit, Melone almost had an early Shelly Duvall thing going for her (not the only Kubrick vibe in the film, as Room 237 is referenced, along with a few other famous artifacts from famous ghostly classics)…but as Maxwell smart says, she “missed it by that much”…although to be fair, she brings back her “A” game for the trippy finale.
Additionally, some elements are just left ambiguous, and the whole affair is definitely a slow burn…now these things I personally dig, but your mileage may vary, so there ya go…
Bottom line, Blood Child presents a unique bit of mythology and world building, but some of the acting choices bring it down a notch, and the overall slow burn presentation and ambiguous storytelling may not be every horror hounds cup of tea. All of that being said, I think Phillips has a lot to offer the horror biz, and I look forward to what she conjures up next!



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