Review: DRY BLOOD is a Bloody, Enjoyable Reality Crash
I had not heard of Dry Blood before it landed in my inbox. However, I was familiar with many Dread Central Presents Productions (Terrifier, The Lodgers, To Hell and Back). So I jumped at the opportunity, not researching anything beforehand; no trailer, no news, no reviews. And boy, was I glad for that because Dry Blood is the definition of a mindfuck.
We follow Brian (Clint Carney, also the writer) as he attempts to get clean for an unknown time. Brian has been on a downward spiral since his divorce, as his ex-wife is now remarried, and he takes a detox trip to a remote cabin to the middle of nowhere that he co-owns with his wife. With help from his friend, Anna (Jaymie Valentine), Brian attempts sobriety while also being haunted by…ghosts? Yes, that is a question, as the answer is so unclear throughout the film, you’re left wondering whether Brian is just feeling the effects of his detox or really seeing these entities. Brian also has to contend with a lone sheriff (director Kelton Jones), who is a strange mix between Kevin Heffernen’s Officer Farva and Giuseppe Andrew’s Deputy Winston.
I can see this film testing a lot of viewer’s patience right off the bat, but that is clearly the point. Drug addiction doesn’t change immediately, and Brian is a frustrating character who doesn’t quite learn that. Much like his detox, the film takes a bit to kick in, instead focusing on his odd encounters with the Sheriff, which are just a joy. Both Carney and Jones have fantastic chemistry, as Brian tries his hardest to avoid the authority throughout his trouble. The Sheriff knows he is an addict and feels he might be a danger to his quiet little mountain town.
There are scares to keep the best of horror fans happy and the best part is, they are loud jump scares. Sure, they’re nothing we haven’t seen before, but if you aren’t paying full attention to Brian’s surroundings (as he tends not to do), they will creep you out. These come very lightly in the first hour of the film, but it’s the last twenty minutes or so that are going to truly wet people’s appetites. Avoiding spoilers, there is buckets of blood and death, all created by fantastic practical effects (a foreign word in 2019).
Yet, it’s not really the horror that sells the ending to me. Instead, it’s the madness of Brian, the fear of Anna and the oddballness of the Sheriff, as you sit and wonder, as I did on many occasions: What the Hell? Is this all real? Is it in Brian’s head and is that why Anna can’t see anything? It’s pretty smart, even if I feel they might have shown their hand a little too much in the closing moments.
As a critic, it’s almost impossible to call a film perfect, and I’m not sitting here saying Dry Blood is. Some people might be turned off by the obvious low budget and natural lighting (I’m also not a fan of the latter). But I mentioned the word: low budget. You have to give a film like this some conceit when it comes to lighting, pacing and editing, as well as special effects, which, again, are just awesome to see, even if you can tell when a dummy is being used. These are nitpicks, but something viewers are bound to notice.
Dry Blood is an interesting, crazy and straight up weird time. It combines many elements of a slow burn, a ghost story and a personal trip all wrapped into 84-easy-to-watch-minutes. Check it out if you can.