PRIME TIME: severing those family ties

It’s an evil embryo, a sinister sister, and a freaky family in my latest triple feature.

BLOOD BORN (2021)

This is an entertaining little film, but it really feels like it would have worked better as a 30-minute short in an anthology film.

A couple is dealing with infertility. A friend tells them about an organization that does wonders in helping people with such troubles.

The organization proves to be one mystical woman who comes to their house and puts them through all kinds of magical rituals to get them pregnant. This takes up the bulk of the film, so it really begins to feel like padding after a while.

Eventually the wife gets pregnant and becomes hungry for blood. But this isn’t a body count movie. She doesn’t go on a killing spree.

It’s all about the zinger ending, which is why it deserves the Tales From the Crypt treatment more than a full-length feature.

THE LAST EXORCIST (2020)

While not the most well-planned plot or high-budget film, I have to give this indie props for a unique (and at times odd) approach to the exorcism subgenre.

I was definitely drawn in by the exorcism of a bloody shirtless guy with 666 carved in his chest.

Then we meet two girls who take it quite badly when they learn on the news that basically all the exorcists in the Catholic religion have been killed in what appears to have been a terrorist attack.

The siblings spend a whole lot of time at a bar drowning in their sorrows as we see through flashbacks that their childhood was tarnished by possession and exorcism.

Now, one of the sisters believes the other sister is the target of another demonic possession. But who’s going to save her?

Who else? The demon-free sister! How? With the help of Danny Trejo, she becomes an honorary priest before the final act. WTF?

Hey, at least there are a bunch of random scenes of different people in a possessed state to carry us through the movie.

HONEYDEW (2020)

By sending just one lone couple into a backwoods family situation, you already put major limitations on how much horror you can deliver in your movie. To then drag that movie out to an hour and forty-five minutes is a bad move. To make the dynamics of the relationship between that couple contradictory and confusing, causing them to be totally unlikable, makes matters even worse.

So there’s this straight couple on a road trip. They get along when they have sex in a tent, but other than that, they seem to be at odds with each other. The guy especially seems to be a total douche who doesn’t give a shit about falling deeper and deeper into dangerous territory.

In fact, that’s one of the biggest problems with this film. I’m sorry, but there has to come a moment in life when you say to yourself, “we’re about to be in a horror movie so we need to tread very carefully here.”

An old hick comes in the middle of the night to tell them they’re camping on his property. These two show themselves to be nothing but white privileged assholes when they behave like they’ve been inconvenienced by this fact.

They go to leave and their car won’t start.

They have no cell service.

They go to the only house they come upon in the middle of the woods. The old lady that invites them in never removes the psycho grin from her face, and instead of letting them use the phone, she calls her “neighbor” in the middle of the night to come help them with their car. While they wait, she becomes frighteningly annoyed when they both rudely make it clear that they won’t eat the meat she’s preparing for them.

She brings out her grown son, who doesn’t talk, doesn’t respond to any stimulation, has his head wrapped in bandages, and has periodic seizures.

Like, do I need to go any further? You’re in a fucking horror movie! Get the fuck out of there!

Instead, the couple lets the old lady set them up in a nasty old room, it appears the guy jerks off in a shower (who the fuck would feel the need to jerk off under these circumstances?), and he then leaves the girlfriend alone in the room.

At this point, what felt like a suspenseful slow burn turns into a whole lot of nothing. And predictable nothing at that.

If there’s cannibalism here, it’s never clarified. This is the smallest backwoods family ever. They manage to tie up the couple. They have a limbless Lena Dunham living in a box.

They make a habit of giving visitors lobotomies and making them new members of the family. When it appears the couple is going to be saved by the arrival of police, we never see the police, we don’t know why the police showed up, we don’t know if the police were in on it, we don’t know if the family did something to the police.

There are no scares. There’s no suspense. There’s no gore. There’s no body count. The presentation of the usual unthinkable possibilities of what could be going on behind closed doors in the middle of redneck America isn’t enough to make this a frightening experience.

There does seem to be a commentary on this privileged white couple having unhealthy relationships with food, but even that isn’t illustrated clearly enough to tie it into their punishment at the hands of this family with food issues that also aren’t specified.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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