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  • Writer's pictureMaxwell J.

A Taste of Blood (2022) Lacks the Stakes to Deliver Its Take on Vampiric Lore

Title: A Taste of Blood

First Non-Festival Release: May 10, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)

Director: Santiago Fernández Calvete

Writer: Santiago Fernández Calvete, Aleksei Tolstoy

Runtime: 90 Minutes

Starring: Alfonsina Carrocio, Tomás Carullo Lizzio, Germán Palacios

Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here

Vampires have long held a specific place in the hearts of people since its first inception in 18th century southeastern Europe. Since then, many cultures have played with the ideas that originated from this sourced folklore.

A Taste of Blood does just that. Natalia (Alfonsina Carrocio) is the daughter of strict patriarch Aguirre (Germán Palacios) who intends on maintaining control over her life. He goes as far as punishing her whenever she seeks out the modern lifestyle that goes against her off-the-grid upbringing. When their clashes get too much and Natalia runs away, she finds herself in the clutches of a familiar horror that has followed Aguirre from a faraway land.

Rough vampire folk horror A Taste of Blood leans into its dull flavor of suspense and misdirection with few scares along the way.

Weak storytelling leads to unsatisfying character development that makes most of the cast indistinguishable in purpose. Establishing itself as a frame story, A Taste of Blood takes its time getting to the heart of the story. Natalia and Alexis are shown to be a young couple in love who have a harrowing story of how they came to be. Natalia’s desires to escape her sheltered life at home and embrace modernity clash with her father’s desires to keep her at home. These dynamics could be interesting if played with more, but A Taste of Blood is more concerned with squeezing out the tension of the stressed family dynamics.

Leaning into old vampire tropes, A Taste of Blood tries to turn a weekend sojourn into a paranoid thriller with middling results. Much of the film serves as a siege film that takes place over the course of a several days. This aspect alone makes it difficult to follow, as the explanation for why the characters remain in their vulnerable home despite having the cover of day and establishing that what is attacking them hunts at night is unreasonable for an audience to accept. Sure, they do not initially know that it is a vampire, nor do they understand those rules but after the first full cycle, you’d think they would get it.

Thanks to horrendous dubbing, the vocal performances of the main young adults destroy any chance of the film maintaining any sense of tension. While the physicality of the actors remains serviceable, their intentions as performers are muddled thanks to the horrific handling of the dubbing. What is the intention here? It neither makes the film more accessible nor add any important thematic element since it is never addressed. It is a net negative decision that seriously messes with the dynamics of the film. Perhaps there is an untouched version of this film out there, but the decision to alternate between languages, one of which is terribly done, without any explanation makes A Taste of Blood one of the more frustrating watches of the year.

A Taste of Blood does manage to subvert expectations in a few refreshing ways. Mixing classic vampire lore with some new ideas, A Taste of Blood keeps the audience on its toes by never fully giving them a traditional vampire. There are echoes of this monster there, but small details like Aguirre’s personal history with the demon make it more of an interesting story as it depicts their plight as the result of a family curse rather than accidentally stumbling upon the evil.

Many terrible decisions hinder A Taste of Blood from being a solid Argentinian vampire film and instead reads as an irritating mess of battling languages. While overall damaging, this largely impacts the performances of the cast, who otherwise likely would have been just fine. The back-and-forth of English and Spanish that makes no sense in-universe does irreparable damage to the final product as no actor has any discernable chemistry with anyone onscreen. Its interesting slant on its source material and commitment to vampire carnage does make up for its weaker components. For those intentionally seeking out vampire horror, feel free to stake a claim in this South American film, otherwise it doesn’t need to be a priority for most others.

Overall Score? 4/10

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