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John’s Horror Corner: Blood Vessel (2019), an Australian horror movie about monstrous vampires on a Nazi warship.

August 2, 2020

MY CALL: The best part of this movie was the poster. Lame acting, lame writing, vampires that talk too much and do too little… but at least the gore and creature effects were good. Overall, this movie is a hard pass. It’s not necessarily terrible, but there’s just too much else out there for you to watch.

Floating on a life raft after their hospital ship was sunk by the Germans, our survivors drift into the path of a Nazi warship… and it’s their only hope for survival.

The opening of this movie is not promising. The CGI has the feel of a stale ScyFy movie-of-the-week and the writing is notably bad. A weak action scene is cobbled together as the survivors simply get on the boat, one of them dies in the ship’s propellers (terribly lame death), and I couldn’t have been more bored than when I suffered through the same scene in Death Ship (1980). Their exploration of the ship is likewise a dragging bore dressed up with way too much needlessly empty dialogue.

But thank the Gods, when they stumble across the first dead body of the ship, the efforts in the gore department are promising. The dead bodies all look very differently mangled, very horrific, and very well done. Further exploration reveals chain-bound sarcophagi with stone etchings of skulls and bones. Of course, expecting gold or some other treasures, they break they chains and open them up to find monsters.

The monstrous bat-hybrid vampires look decent considering the obviously lower budget. However, the more I see them the less I like them. In fact, they quickly go from menacing to lackluster, talking a lot of classic Dracula Old World game they can’t back up. And that’s just it, they talk a lot and do little. These vampires would have been better (given their appearance; think The Descent) if treated as monstrous, animalistic creatures rather than articulate and calculating (and needlessly verbose).

Writer (in part) and director Justin Dix (Crawlspace) must be a major Aliens (1986) fan, because we find several callbacks to the classic. Boarding a seemingly abandoned ship, the discovery of a thick gooey slime on the pipes of a ship maintenance corridor and a lone survivor girl scampering around the nooks and crannies of the ship spying on our survivors (plus other Newt parallels) both strongly echo the 1986 classic. Alas, this World War II “Newt” goes from interesting to yet another writing throwaway the more we watch. It seems there were a lot of good ideas that inspired the screenplay, but then no one knew what to do with those ideas.

Not just their characters, but the actors themselves were casualties of the often dreadful dialogue. Still, there are some familiar faces among them: e.g., Christopher Kirby (Iron Sky, Predestination, Upgrade), Robert Taylor (Rogue, The Meg, Kong: Skull Island) and Nathan Phillips (Wolf Creek, Chernobyl Diaries).

Lame acting, lame writing, lame vampires… but at least the gore was okay. Overall, this movie is a hard pass. It’s not necessarily terrible, but there’s just too much else out there for you to watch.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2020 3:23 pm

    I enjoyed it. I liked the vampires being non-human for a change and the ship made for a creepy setting.

    Not great but better than a lot of what I’ve seen lately.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      August 6, 2020 8:05 pm

      I liked the vampires (at first) for the same reason. I just wanted more feral, beastly, even desperate bloodlust.

  2. Gore_Fan permalink
    August 6, 2020 7:25 pm

    What else should I be watching? I find a lot of horror movies lackluster these days. Did you see Ghosts of War? Would that be considered worse or better than this film?

    Thanks!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      August 6, 2020 8:05 pm

      I have not seen Ghosts of War. The trailer looked interesting. But, so did the trailer for Blood Vessel.

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