Bleed with Me (2021) Runs Dry Pretty Quickly
Title: Bleed with Me
First Non-Festival Release: August 10, 2021 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Amelia Moses
Writer: Amelia Moses
Runtime: 80 Minutes
Starring: Lee Marshall, Lauren Beatty, Aris Tyros
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Rowan (Lee Marshall) is a shy woman who is pleasantly surprised by the offer of co-worker Emily (Lauren Beatty) to join her on a short vacation to her family’s cabin. Once there, she meets Brendan (Aris Tyros) who is Emily’s boyfriend and while initially inviting, he is not entirely stoked about another person tagging along on their trip. As the days pass, Rowan wakes up to strange cuts on her arm and symptoms of an unknown illness. Soon she begins to suspect that her best friend might be stealing her blood. Caught between feeling paranoid and on edge yet fearful that she is imagining everything, Rowan will have to decide if niceties are more important than her survival.
Bleed with Me is a psychological horror film that runs cold with atmospheric disappointment.
A rather sleepy film, Bleed with Me posits the idea: what happens when codependency manifests into literal bloodsucking. Director Amelia Moses mistakes long and drawn-out scenes for tension and suspense, resulting in neither. The film has some great ideas, but they are not developed fully into the feature. Truthfully, this might have worked better as a campier film. The serious tone and the lack of action really stunts it from fully committing to the premise.
The idea of leeching off one another hooked me, especially when Bleed with Me explores this with its non-vampiric story. Rowan does this or emotional support while Emily does it for the need to be needed, going so far to cause physical harm to others to nurse them back to health. This codependency is the actual horror of the film until one of them decides they need to cut the other out of their life. I absolutely love this premise, but again, it is not executed well.
By the time we get to the third act, its finale is condensed into ten minutes, making the big confrontation feel rushed and deflated as a result, especially after the first two acts move at a snail’s pace. It’s a shame that the film stops right where it gets interesting, but unfortunately that is what Bleed with Me chooses to do. Despite its quiet and atmospheric nature, it doesn’t do much to unnerve or unsettle. It leaves the audience with a big “huh” before disappearing into the night.
Despite some interesting initial backstories of Rowan and Emily, nothing is explored too deeply. A few things are brought up but never explored beyond implications, most notably a stalking incident and a death of a sibling. It’s insinuated that something sinister happened in both cases, but nothing further is mentioned. There are only three main characters in Bleed with Me and it’s a shame we learn so little about them by the time the film ends. This would be more excusable with a larger cast, but not when there is so much room to develop here. Over-emoting and mismatching each other’s energy, the cast doesn’t do a great job of making up for the script’s faults either. Everyone approaches the material with the same lifelessness one might expect from someone who has quite literally bled out, which doesn’t do the film any favors.
There’s something stale about Bleed with Me that makes it more of a disappointing watch rather than something to praise. It’s a plain movie in all regards, most notably its setting, characters, and camerawork, which makes it hard to be memorable against more bombastic features of the year. The limp design, slow pacing, and lukewarm cast does nothing to inspire anything in this feature beyond a yawn or a snore. It has some good ideas and Moses has something to say, but it gets lost in this restrained work that does little to inspire thought or reaction. Don’t expect any blood to rush to your heart or adrenaline to spike in this languid, wintry, horror psychodrama.
Overall Score? 4.5/10