The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival 2017
How do you make a movie about a world ravaged by vampires interesting? The whole apocalypse/vampire genres have pretty much been done to death, so this presents quite the challenge. Successful movies or TV shows that tackle this subject focus on the people and the struggle to stay alive. Red Spring manages to do that, creating a tense atmosphere at times and giving the audience characters that you both love and hate. It’s not perfect, no movie really is, but it is an enjoyable film that has a great sense of what it wants to be from the very beginning and that in itself is a breath of fresh air.
We meet a group of survivors, struggling in this new world while searching for loved ones, dead, alive or otherwise. Ray (Jeff Sinasac, who is also the writer and director) is one of these survivors, trying to find his family. The life and the search are taking its toll on him, moving from one dead house, dead town to another. Sinasac does a great job of showing the strain on his face and right from the beginning to feel for the man and his struggle.
His band of survivors, traveling by van, meets up with another survivor Vicky (Elysia White) in the most unorthodox of ways. After a brief struggle against a small group of vampires, the group heads to a house where possible survival and insanity lay in wait. It seems there is nice fallout shelter here, with enough supplies to give them time to rest up and figure out what to do next. Sounds great, doesn’t it? However, when there is more than one voice things can get sticky and this happens quickly.
Mitchell (Reece Presley), Eric (Adam Cronheim), Bailey (Lindsey Middleton) and Carlos (Jonathan Robbins) all bring different elements to the group, which is both a good and bad thing. When it comes to the survival of not only yourself but the human race it tends to change your perspective on certain things and the actors do a good job of conveying that to the audience.
As the writer and director, Sinasac does a good job of moving the film along at a steady pace while giving us a variety of individuals to both love and hate. There is a real feeling of isolation at times and this really adds to the already mounting tension in the group, giving you the sense that there is really no place safe from both the vampires and quarreling human survivors. It also helps that you have no idea who is going to survive, maybe a hint, but with no one really having any advantage over another it makes for a better film.
The tough part for me was the vampires and the way they decided to go in terms of how they looked and functioned. There were some moments where they were intimidating, especially in large groups or hordes, while others…not so much. I was interested in the fact that there was an actual leader which was different but I was hoping they would have been more intimidating overall. There were also a few moments of clunky dialogue and character interaction that didn’t really work but those were few and far in between.
In the end, Red Spring was a success because Jeff Sinasac understood just what kind of movie he wanted to make and delivered just that, giving us some heartbreaking and tension-filled moments while entertaining us at the same time.
Three and a half stars out of five
Red Spring has its World Premiere on Thursday, Nov 23rd, 9:30 pm at the Royal Cinema in Toronto
- Good tension, wonderful claustrophobic moments
- Great feeling of isolation and despair
- Vampires were odd looking and inconsistent in terms of actually being scary
- Some dialogue and character interaction didn't really work