FANTASTIC FEST 2022: ‘Blood Relatives’ Infuses The Vampire Film With Creativity

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Blood Relatives

When Noah Segan introduced his directorial debut Blood Relatives at this year’s Fantastic Fest, he said it was “one long dad joke.” And he was right, though not in the way one might think. Blood Relatives follows Francis (Segan), who at first seems a little eccentric. He sleeps in his muscle car, only seems to be around at night, and he dresses in all black. There’s a reason for this: Francis is a vampire. And his routine’s worked fairly well — until a girl named Jane (Victoria Moroles) tracks him down. Jane happens to be Francis’ daughter. And though he’s been a loner for decades, Francis has to learn how to accept fatherhood and fast.

Much like the zombie and the werewolf before him, the vampire has often served as a metaphor for real-life problems. Most of those problems include trying to make a living, holding on to one’s culture, and even dealing with your first serious relationship. Segan opts to look at the trials of fatherhood through his film; how does someone who’s essentially lived “the dream” deal with being a parent? Not well at first. Francis wants nothing to do with Jane, even trying to pawn her on a distant relative. But throughout the film, he slowly — ever so slowly — starts to open up and teach her about her abilities.

This results in the mix of the mundane and fantastic that genre films can only pull off. You’ve probably seen scenes in family dramas or comedies where the father decides to take his family on a road trip. Well, have you ever seen a road trip that resulted in a trail of bodies along the way? Segan knows how to keep his film delightfully macabre while also injecting it with a little heart. And his direction is also very solid, with some clever cuts – a fork digging into a pile of raw meat quickly shifts to a shovel scooping up a load of fresh dirt. The only issue is that the film tends to meander a little; there were one or two points that could have served as a great ending.

Despite this, Blood Relatives really succeeds when it lets Segan and Moroles bounce off of each other. Segan’s been a solid supporting presence in plenty of films, but here he takes center stage and peels back Francis’ insecurities as the film goes on. Viewers get to learn more about him, including his Jewish heritage and the reason why he’s a nomad. And the moment where he confesses that he doesn’t know how to be a father is nothing short of heartbreaking. The same goes for Moroles. She could have easily slipped into a “surly, pouty teenager,” but she has a great reason to be angry: her father wants nothing to do with her, and she’s inherited a terrible birthright from him. Watching them trade barbs is entertaining, and watching them grow closer is satisfying.

Blood Relatives infuses a fresh jolt of life and creativity into the genre and serves as a great directorial debut for Noah Segan. It’s a film that’s brimming with the same energy as What We Do In The Shadows, and like that film, I have no doubt that it’ll be a huge hit with horror fans.

Blood Relatives had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest 2022.


Blood Relatives
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Blood Relatives infuses a fresh jolt of life and creativity into the genre and serves as a great directorial debut for Noah Segan. It’s a film that’s brimming with the same energy as What We Do In The Shadows, and like that film, I have no doubt that it’ll be a huge hit with horror fans.

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