Starring: Abigail Breslin, Sean Bean, James Purefoy
Genre: Drama/ thriller
Parentless sisters Amber (Alexa Vega) and Hannah (Breslin) live seemingly trapped in the dark Southern underworld of drug dealing and violence with their junkie uncle Donny (Lew Temple) and under the watchful control of their uncle Frank (Bean), a powerful drug dealer and crime lord. Amber sees her way out of this life after meeting and falling in love with the mysterious Bill (Purefoy), while Hannah sees this as her chance to escape the life herself by cleverly pitting everyone against each other, with brutal consequences.
It truly is eye opening just how many straight to DVD films there are that feature reasonably big name actors in the leading roles. Sometimes these are small art house projects that the actors have funded themselves, or sometimes they are just shoddy b movies. Occasionally when I feel brave enough to give these films a go I am pleasantly surprised by them and a broader popularity that the film deserves is never achieved down to the film having no advertising exposure and a nonexistent marketing budget. If I watch such a film then I will certainly give it the praise it deserves on this very website. However, word of mouth is a very powerful medium and some of the good films that are very low budget (and can also have unknown actors) get the eventual exposure they deserve through word of mouth. “The cream always rises to the top” as they say, whoever ‘they’ are!
Well, it is unfortunately usually the case that these films are shoddy b movies with very unoriginal plots, appalling scripts and they feature well known actors and it is quite frankly a baffling mystery why they were ever attracted to such a film or if they had even read the script. Well, I am afraid to say that Bad Blood (or Wicked Blood as it is called everywhere outside the UK) falls into that category, and like so many films of its ilk, is not worth investing 90 minutes of your time in.
The story itself is painfully generic and the dialogue woeful; with every cliché of grimy drug dealers that has been done far better in other films in the Southern states being found here and every plot development can be predicted way before it happens due to the scripts laziness and every character being a languidly written caricature. Hannah’s main form of escapism is through playing chess, and this then enables writer/ director Mark Young to use chess analogies in a voice over by Hannah, he may well think these are clever, but they are in fact quite frankly embarrassing to listen to.
I appreciate that Bad Blood had a pretty much non-existent budget, and I can imagine there is an attempt to make the film’s settings feel grimy, but the camera work is painfully amateurish. There is the use of handheld cameras to evoke a sense of gritty realism, then there is just an inability to hold a camera properly, and Bad Blood often contains the latter.
All the embarrassingly amateurish storytelling of Bad Blood is a particular shame as the performances from the big name cast are actually pretty good and elevate the terrible script; Abigail Breslin gives a very committed performance as Hannah and she shares good chemistry with Alexa Vega who also captures the inner torment and suffocation of her character’s life really well, meanwhile Sean Bean and James Purefoy give suitably brooding performances and nail the accents perfectly.
Alas these solid performances from familiar names cannot save Bad Blood from just being yet another deeply forgettable and cheap b-movie that truly is a waste of your 90 minutes.