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  Bloodthirsty Moon Singer
Year: 2020
Director: Amelia Moses
Stars: Lauren Beatty, Greg Bryk, Katharine King So, Judith Buchan, Michael Ironside, Jesse Gervaise, Jayce McKenzie, Michael Peterson
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Grey (Lauren Beatty) is a singer-songwriter who has enjoyed a major hit with her debut album, but now comes the tricky second effort and she is suffering anxiety nightmares because of it, not to mention an increasing sense of writer's block. Those dreams are weirdly specific, however, as she envisages herself hunting and eating wild animals, as if she were some kind of beast herself, and as a near-lifelong vegan, this is troubling her a lot more than she thinks it should. She sees a psychiatrist (Michael Ironside) as the dreams are dangerously close to becoming hallucinations, but decides that as long as she has medication, she can find the courage to join forces with a new producer, Vaughn Daniels (Greg Bryk) and forge ahead...

I mean, who cares if this Vaughn guy was accused of murdering a previous collaborator when he produced her songs, he gets the job done, right? Therefore with all the oblivious nature of characters taking a carriage ride up to Castle Dracula in a Hammer horror, Grey and her girlfriend Charlie (Katharine King So) drive through a snowbound Canadian forest to reach his mansion cum recording studio - Charlie is an artist so can get some painting done while Grey lays down some tracks, is the general idea. Already from the minute we meet Vaughn, our impression is of some pretentious guy who sees not respecting boundaries as a method of pushing his form of psychological shakeups onto Grey as a matter of professional course, and we would not be wrong about that. But even then, he goes too far.

In case you hadn't twigged, Bloodthirsty was a werewolf yarn, a companion piece to director Ameila Moses' other indie horror of 2020, Bleed With Me, which complemented the genre here by being about vampires. This one was not written by Moses as that had been, however, as scripting duties were taken by mother and daughter team Wendy Hill-Tout and Lowell, the latter a singer-songwriter herself who also penned the sensitive tunes that Grey composes in the context of the film. At points you may wonder whether she would not be better off writing and performing the angriest death metal imaginable for the benefit of her personality, which seems to be eroding as her bestial side emerges, but nope, her songs are as indie as the movie's production was. It was the sort of film that appeared to take the same cavalier attitude to bunny health as Watership Down.

Well, Grey dreams of eating at least a couple of rabbits raw, and even runs one over in her car on the way to Vaughn's, anyway. While Bloodthirsty was very carefully constructed within its means to keep things from a female perspective of a fear of letting go - or giving in, more pertinently - the annoying element came when it used that old cliché of vegans and vegetarians supposedly one bite of steak away from reverting to full on carnivore, which in most real life cases just was not true, yet that is exactly what happens to Grey when Vaughn offers her a morsel of his meal. It might make sense in the context of the story, but it had happened most memorably in French cannibal shocker Raw, and it was a hackneyed notion in that one too. But there were compensations otherwise for the patient horror fan: Moses worked up a strong atmosphere of isolated degeneration as the heroine's mind falls apart (OK, yet another female horror protagonist going bonkers, but we should be used to that), and used the effects sparingly but powerfully. Good to see with Bleed With Me as a comparison - they're both fairly brief.

[Signature Entertainment presents Bloodthirsty at FrightFest 29th August and on Digital Platforms & DVD 30th August 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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