Blood Relatives (FANTASTIC) Takes You on a Fun and Breezy Vampire Road Trip
Title: Blood Relatives
First Non-Festival Release: November 22, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Noah Segan
Writer: Noah Segan
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Starring: Noah Segan, Victoria Moroles, Josh Ruben
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
This film’s review was written after its screening at the Fantastic Film Festival in 2022.
Francis (Noah Segan) has lived most of his life on the road after being turned into a vampire by the Nazis in World War II. After leaving behind his family and old life, he makes his way to America where he meanders through existence from one town to the next. Along the way he runs into Jane (Victoria Moroloes) at a run-down motel in Oklahoma. She confides in him that he got her mother pregnant after sleeping with her sixteen years ago. The revelations of father-dom don’t shake him, but Francis feels compelled to drop Jane off at her last remaining relative’s home in Nebraska. It also helps that she can walk during the day, a convenience that saves his skin a few times. Will they get closer together after decades apart or will they let their relationship die before it has a chance to blossom?
Sugary sweet father-daughter road movie gets mashed up with vampire comedy in the sentimental horror film of the year: Blood Relatives.
The heart of Blood Relatives is the story of a father and daughter connecting while the father struggles to find identity after a life of aimless wandering. As Jane and Francis get to know each other, they both learn from each other and together. Jane wants stability and an understanding of herself that she has yearned for her entire life. Finding her Francis has complicated her journey. She knows more now, but she is still left with questions when they separate for the first time. Francis isn’t searching for something but rather avoiding responsibility and roots. Once Jane comes into his life, Francis begins re-evaluating everything he knows.
Packed with side-splitting jokes, Blood Relatives knows how to whip its audience into a frenzy. While Jane’s dialogue leans heavy into the precocious teenager/child trope that can get irritating in many films, Blood Relatives eschews this with a sense of self-awareness that others cannot escape. There’s a fresh wit about the jokes and the writing helps sell the zany situations that the two get tangled into along their journey.
Evenly paced and never dull, this light-hearted and sentimental horror romp is perfect for those aching for a horror film that makes the scary, sweet. Its paired down aesthetics and lack of need for super gory set pieces means that the film focuses on the evolving relationship between father and daughter. It’s in these more philosophical moments where Blood Relatives shines. Vampirism can be used as an excellent metaphor to describe the feelings of loss and disconnection from humanity. With Jane’s unique vantage point of being both human and vampire she allows Francis to enjoy life rather than merely survive.
While it maintains a sense of direction and has fantastic comedic elements, Blood Relatives lacks bite on the horror side of things. The film isn’t about blood, guts, and gore, and there is no fault to that. The lack of onscreen action does feel like a letdown considering Jane’s individual character arc of discovering and controlling her appetite. Some secondary characters feel wasted in short cameos when they could be used to better develop the main duo including an iconic cameo of a certain Josh Ruben. Perhaps a sequel can dive into more of their backstories while still growing upon the original family dynamic. Some the acting and character work gets a little too on the nose. Since Blood Relatives is more comedy than horror, it spends its time working through its recurring gags and themes than raising blood pressure.
It isn’t the scariest film of the year, but that doesn’t stop Blood Relatives from being a fantastic edition to the horror comedy catalogue. With vampires mostly resigned to romance and gothic stories for the past decades, watching something so off beat and sweet makes for a nice change of pace. It does get a bit too silly sometimes, but it is hard to truly fault the film for leaning into its charms. If you are looking for visceral terror, definitely steer clear of this one. If you are looking for something light-hearted and digestible, however, feel free to indulge in this saccharine family vampire film.
Overall Score? 7.5/10