When a horror fan mentions the name Lance Henriksen a flood of films come to mind such as Aliens (1986) and lately many b-movies, but as a quality actor, the performance, comes with intensity and passion for each role and never fails in the delivery, and the same goes for his character Russell in It’s in the Blood. A script written by Scooter Downey and Sean Elliot, who also holds a firm control of the opposite lead role of October to Russell, meanwhile Scooter serves as director in his first and only directing position in his entire career. The movie, drifts more to psychological drama than thriller or horror, and yet blends multiple genres to weld and very interesting vehicle for the audience to thoroughly care and invest their time, though limited to 81-minutes production, which features a hidden reference to H.P. Lovecraft.
This is a without a doubt a slow generating film, with the thickness of molasses, yet the independent small crew and cast production delivers in an impact character and acting performance, where Henriksen and Elliot are estranged father and son. For reasons never exactly clear October, a medical student with the unique ability of a photographic memory and recalled, similar to a Dr. Reid character on Criminal Minds, returns home to confront his father over issues in the pasts. The storyline uses elements and crafty tools of drama to mask the psychological journey with horror in the shadows waiting to ambush both characters and audience. The characters decide to try rekindling the relationship with a hike into the woods, but long before the animosity starts brewing faster than firecrackers on an open flame. Russell refuses to allow his son use his medical training to save their dog, and the issue disgusts October even more than before to the ignorance and stubbornness of his father. Though the pair switch gears literally with a sexual referencing lessons of shifting gears and watching Russell do a funny routine of faking an orgasmic bliss, while speeding on the back roads of Texas in very fast late model Mustang police car. The scene itself is beyond memorable, but it is not the greatest moment, those combine to uncover the mysteries of the past and the horrors it inflicts on the present. This reviewer must tread carefully as not to expose the essence of the storyline and grant too many spoiler moments, except to state a very tasty and disgusting amputation of a limb on Russell’s damaged body from a very high fall, suffered from a bit overzealous masculinity in the firing of his trusty gun.
While the film incorporates many genres, it definitely works efficiently for a dramatic acting production, reminiscent of Scent of a Woman (1992) with Al Pacino versus Chris O’Donnell the positions of power and transition to an even understanding and acceptance of the situations of each other, the exact same elements in place in this movie. The film contains a few gripping scenes, but all pales in comparison, Elliot never backs away from Lance, he holds firmly with his character a choice to rise up and challenge comes at the precise moment needed in the film, showing the strength of the directing and script design. Many of the shots, capture not only the pitting of characters in struggling against the natures overwhelming power, but also conveying the isolation of their position and themselves individually battling the personal memories and spiritual realizations of the impacts of past misdeeds whether of their making or the evil of others inflicting into their lives. One of the minor notes in the film and viewers learn, is that time doesn’t heal old wounds, especially involving pride and love, two of the most personal traits these men share, whether clearly acknowledged or not, the story impacts them both and keep the audience on focus on the screen and not wanting to leave the tension for anything.
Scooter delivers a quality movie, and execution comes on a positive standpoint, a refreshing and juicy storyline and proves independent film-making still has the ability to engage an audience one the proper casting fits wonderfully. As for the intended audience this movie crosses both genre lines and gender affiliations, not perhaps some age demographics, meaning the younger teen market, will likely pass on this great movie, and reasoning, no excessive gore or blood splattering and not any T&A flaunting on a constant loop. Their loss as the movie brings rare moments in horror, thrillers and drama to a unifying fantastic creation.
This review was originally posted in March 2016 on the now defunct Rogue Cinema website with a view count of 1,988.
- You can’t escape the wilderness within.
IMDb Rating: 4.6/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10