Movies that are not what they seem are staples in horror. We see them all the time, as it is easy to throw twists into our favorite genre. It is also really easy to mash-up genres, flip the script, or just generally throw the viewer for a loop. But too many movies these days lean really hard into trying to keep the viewer on their toes and forget that somewhere in the film there needs to be a coherent story. Bloodthirsty is one of the films that accomplished this. In Bloodthirsty, we follow Grey, a music artist who is struggling to write her second album. Then from stage left (pun intended), we are introduced to Vaughn, a music producer that wants to see Grey succeed and so much more. As she and Vaughn start to explore what is keeping Grey from being able to get the music out of her head, we start to notice that something isn't quite right with Vaughn and his interaction with Grey leads her down a dangerous path. From the get-go, it is clear this movie has something visceral and primal at its core, so it isn't a huge spoiler to say you should expect something supernatural, but the movie does an amazing job of keeping you guessing about what type of supernatural you are gonna get. This is nice because it makes the payout at the end that much sweeter. And unlike a lot of movies where you need to wait till the end for an awesome payout, this movie delivers (I am looking at you It Comes At Night). It is hard to talk about this movie without mentioning the sound. Every aspect of the sound design in this movie is wonderful. The music Grey creates for her second album, the sound work for the supernatural elements, and just the score overall set a very definitive mood for the film. The music Grey writes being especially beautiful and dark. I want to listen to a whole album of it, right now, please.
The movie isn't all good though. Most of the supporting cast (which there were very little) feels very mundane, and if they were to be removed very little would change from start to finish. They don't really get into any kind of meaningful depth in any of the other characters. Which is why I have been able to do this whole review without talking about them. I think people will take away many things from this movie when it comes to symbolism. Is it a story about how the pursuit of fame makes a monster of us all? Is it a tale of how being a creative can drive us to things we would never imagine. As someone who doesn't like or need a ton of allusion mucking up good horror movies, I don't really care what the symbolism means in this film, because it is just a great horror movie that tells a fantastic story.
Horror Rating System Horror Qualifier: 9/10
Horror Quality: 8/10
Film Quality: 8/10
If you missed Celebration of Fantastic Fest 2020, you truly did miss an amazing festival this year. We got to see so many new, amazing films like Girl and Bloodthirsty and we even got to see some new and old shorts (Great Choice being a Sickle and Efrit favorite). Make sure to try to catch it next year, and thank you to Alamo Draft House for making all this available for free for everyone!