Blood Craft, 2019.
Directed by James Cullen Bressack.
Starring Madeleine Wade, Augie Duke, Michael Welch, and Dominique Swain.
Two sister reunite to summon the spirit of their recently deceased father and seek revenge for the years of abuse he subjected them to.
As an enthusiast of low-budget horror, James Cullen Bressack was applauded at eighteen for his first production My Pure Joy and dubbed “horror’s new hope” by Studio City Patch that pegged him as the next daring director in his field. His second feature Hate Crime was shelved by the BBFC in 2012, but Bressack’s latest festival ready revenge feature only serves a taste of his groundbreaking work under the weight of poor practical choices.
Co-written with protagonist Madeleine Wade, Blood Craft showcases Bressack’s talent in composition, storytelling and lighting with DOP Nik Shaw that’s to be admired at fleeting moments, leaving the remainder of the runtime with Wade’s unconvincing performance. An abstract style seeps through particular sequences with luminous lighting and rhythmic editing featured in an effective magic mushroom trip that recalls Mandy or The Neon Demon, thus setting a grungy hallucination to lose yourself in before returning to the film’s washed out reality.
Younger sister Augie Duke seems to have a firmer grasp on her character, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Fairuza Balk in The Craft and handles Bressack’s onslaught of ballsy subject matters well. Driven also by witchcraft, Blood Craft’s setting is a stereotypical suburban house awaiting evil and a James Wan production, but even this fitting location is not used to its full potential and instead used as a backdrop for some rotten and unnecessary supernatural effects.
Michael Welch from Twilight fame stays relatively sturdy next to Wade’s uncertainty on the acting front, however no great depths are reached in the exploration of Grace and Serena Hall when there’s a plot that’s sprinting for the finish line. The sister’s story slaps you hard at sporadic pressure points of the narrative, only to then be relieved with a contradiction of emotion that replaces any shred of dignity with erratic progression and soft porn for the fun of it.
Granted this amateurish horror has glimpses of something greater with Bressack at the helm, but alas, his skills are drowned in painfully overused horror troupes, cringy acting and a half-hearted script that could have been crafted better to compliment a fairly decent plot. Even if you’re done seeing the dead being raised on a stormy night, Blood Craft’s one big twist and flashes of a Dark Souls styled score from Chris Ridenhour just about keeps you vertical until the end. Unless you’re a die hard fan of tacky horror, you’re going to struggle through this summoning.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★