You’re not the boss of me.
It’s a phrase we’ve all uttered at some point, most likely as children. These days, that phrase doesn’t seem to have as much power as it did a few decades ago. No matter who you are or what you do, someone somewhere thinks they should be the boss of you. It could be your spouse. It could be the media. It could be your government. It could be a gang of tweeps and bots on Twitter skewing opinions on a trending topic. Sometimes it seems like everyone wants to tell you what you can do, what you can think, and what you can say.
But what if those who would be the boss of you literally could control you while you remain aware of that control but helpless to do anything about it? That’s what happens to Kerry (Eden Brolin), Sean (Eric Nelsen), and Brian (Justiin A. Davis), three barely adult friends who find themselves stalked and controlled by a sinister group of supernaturally empowered cousins in writer/director Richard LeMay‘s brand new horror film Blood Bound. In order to maintain their power, the family is required to create a blood sacrifice once every 25 years. This sacrifice must consist of four human lives, one of them a family member. The group settles on the three young and lost individuals to comprise three-quarters of the sacrifice. The fourth sacrifice, the family member, only becomes revealed with time.
As Kerry, Sean, and Brian become entrapped by the strange family, they discover that they each have lost control over their own lives. Kerry is raped and impregnated by a member of the family during a forest ritual. Distraught, she first tries to abort the child, but is stopped by another member of the family. Next, she attempts to commit suicide, only to find that she is incapable of being hurt or killed as long as she is under the family’s spell of protection. Sean and Brian, meanwhile, try various means to communicate what is happening to the group to outsiders, but are incapable of doing so because of their supernatural binding by the family. All three young adults suffer this loss of control, with Kerry’s the greatest because she is not only incapable of escaping the group’s clutches, she is also incapable of preventing herself from bearing their young.
With a run time of just over 90 minutes, Blood Bound allows its story to unfold at a pace that some viewers might consider slow. It is an atmospheric film that allows the story to percolate, containing just enough mystery to maintain interest as we learn more about the family, why it chose the three people to be sacrificed, and exactly how the fourth is to be handled. Because the story unfolds slowly, the audience is allowed to question the decisions and motives of the characters on the screen. There are several points, especially near the beginning, where you’ll insist that you’ve discovered a plot hole. You haven’t. Trust the filmmakers long enough and all will be revealed.
Visually, the film is relatable. This town could be any small town in this country. These people could be any friends or neighbors. When special effects are required, they are carried out practically, and in a satisfying way. The sound is adequate, although there were places where I thought the dialogue was muffled or too distant. There was also a scene in which one of the characters is clubbed with a police officer’s baton and it makes what I can only describe as a “wrong” sound for that action.
Overall, Blood Bound is enjoyable. It might not go over well with viewers who are expecting 90 full minutes of edge-of-your-seat action. For those who enjoy a story with a bit of mystery and a lot of dread that stems from loss of control, this is one to watch.