November 9th, 2022
MOVIE: BLOOD RELATIVES
STARRING: NOAH SEGAN, VICTORIA MOROLES, JOSH RUBEN, DOUG BENSON
DIRECTED BY: NOAH SEGAN
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
When Bella Lugosi claimed to hear “children of the night”, it was a time when Dracula, the most notorious vampire of all time, was the only fanged character we talked about. I’m aware of Max Schreck as Nosferatu, but he was the original gangster of vamps, and at this point the figures that sleep all day and suck blood all night have been done in too many ways to count. Yet, we love to show them in a new light. That is what’s happening in director/writer/actor Noah Segan’s feature film debut Blood Relatives and instead of just making it about finding new victims to feast on, he’s telling a story of family, and making a road trip tale that gives a needed boost to how we see vampires today. Blood Relatives is a vampire movie but it’s also a funny and charming expression of what it means to be a good parent.
Francis (Segan) is a cool looking guy, wearing a slick leather jacket, driving a cool car, and aware of how to survive his condition of being a vampire. We first meet him talking to an auto mechanic (Doug Benson as his funny aloof self) who is closing up and unwilling to help out a guy on the road. That of course leads to a frothy meal for our hero, who then finds himself a comfy motel to hang at when the sun rises. It’s a laid back life until Jane (Victoria Moroles) arrives at his motel door to let him know that she is the daughter he never knew he had. Being a vampire is tough but playing catch up as a dad to your 18-year old daughter is tougher and it’s after this initial meeting where the family strife sinks in. Can they be friends? Or how do they make up for lost time? What is certain is that they both know how to take a bite out of someone and maybe they can bond over their vampire-abilities.
It’s often fascinating, mixed with an excitement to have a narrative tone take a shift on the viewer, pushing back against what is expected. Blood Relatives has the opening look and feel of a singular vampire journey, going from body to body, feasting and moving, like a lonely man left to wander the earth alone. When Jane arrives, it becomes a matter of family and the many lives that have been lived to that point. It’s Segan’s rich history of his family and fears of parenthood that many will relate with and he finds the right balance. It’s reminiscent of what Mickey Reece did with Agnes, his possession story that turns into a study of lost faith, which had the independent spirit and veered the audience away from all expectations. Segan allows the focus to be on Jane’s ability to be a teenager and Francis to let go of any fears that come from being the father of a vampire.
What is immediately evident from Noah Segan is that he has a unique voice. The methodical pacing, a lack of the expected gnarly kills will be off putting for some, but is also a reason why on first watch Blood Relatives will not be the cup audiences wanted. Segan’s not going for the loud kind of horror, but a grounded approach, something he’s evidently learned from his work with Rian Johnson, but still has an appreciation for the classics of where a great vampire is born from. Blood Relatives is a confident and smart brand of horror from Noah Segan. I can’t wait to see what he sinks his teeth into next.
BLOOD RELATIVES IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS NOVEMBER 18TH AND IS AVAILABLE ON SHUDDER TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22ND, 2022
Written by: Leo Brady