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Photo: ‘Bloodthirsty’/Brainstorm Media
‘Bloodthirsty’ is a werewolf horror–thriller featuring an emerging singer, Grey (Lauren Beatty) who finds herself in a precarious situation haunted by an internal battle. Grey along with her girlfriend, Charlie (Katharine King So) move to a remote cabin to collaborate on her second album with famed music producer Vaughn Daniels (Greg Bryk). There are rumors that Vaughn is a murderer but with her music career on the line, Grey excuses this possible conviction. As her songwriting progresses with relationship struggles emerging between her and Charlie, Grey begins to morph into a bloodthirsty beast.
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‘Bloodthirsty’ Tries To Be An Original But Fails
Directed by Amelia Moses, ‘Bloodthirsty’ opens with a sequence filled with hot breathing incorporated with digestion sounds from eating organs and blood. Off the bat, there is an animalistic behavior present mixed with an erratic need for hunger. In all, this scene just triggered my misophonia with the obnoxious smacking sounds. But guess what, it is all a nightmare, and our main character, Grey (Lauren Beatty), wakes up. Wow, how original it is for a film to begin with a sleep sequence. Without much introduction other than the opening sequence, the audience is thrown into the idea that Grey has an internal struggle. If you should associate a single word with ‘Bloodthirsty,’ it’s gaslighting. When Grey meets with her therapist to discuss her nightmares, he is quick to demean her feelings as she results in saying, “So, it’s all in my head. That’s what you’re telling me?”
When she comes off stage after her performance, she is bombarded by a journalist who is relentlessly picking into her private life, something she wishes to keep secret. But, the journalist says, “The public deserves to know.” You’ll see throughout my review but, I’m not too fond of the dialogue within the film as it comes off as incredibly manipulative, male-oriented, and with tons of gaslighting and mansplaining.
When she returns home to her partner and girlfriend, Charlie (Katharine King So), Grey confesses that she was accepted to work with the notorious music producer Vaughn Daniels (Greg Bryk). As she should, Charlie tells Grey that he was tried for murder and wonders why she would ever want to work with him. But, Grey has her excuses and says, “Can you just be happy for me? – He could have anyone he wanted, and he picked me.” So, Charlie should be happy that you are dragging her to live alongside you in the middle of nowhere with a supposed murderer? Okay, girly makes sense.
But as filmmaking would have it, Grey and Charlie end up going together to the woods in the middle of nowhere. Ooo, again, how original. On the way, they run over a bunny, and the despair Grey goes through is what you might call melodramatic. As Grey says, “Was it cute, though?” you’re left wondering if this is an actual scene in a film. This entire scene was rather cringe-worthy, under-done, and anticlimactic.
There was no intense sound from the bunny’s death which is unconvincing as most bunnies scream which might have added an intriguing horror detail if they considered adding it. When the two arrive at the house, they are greeted, or rather they come face to face with the housemaid, Vera (Judith Buchan), who is mean, aloof, and bitter. Guess what, guys, again, something we’ve never encountered before in films. Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice?
While they wait for the introduction of Vaughn, Grey chooses to play a few notes of Clair De Lune on the piano. Not the most unique choice but a respectable one; however, for some reason, I’d like more tiny details playing into the underlying meaning of the film. Whether that be with slight hints of wolves or, more specifically, werewolves, so her playing the piano could’ve been a score from Dracula to speak about character figures that are so closely related to each other. Without directly appointing to werewolves, you could play with the entire genre that it originates from. But, instead, the film only relies on using dialogue as a whole to represent the werewolf concept, and it isn’t done well.
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Once Grey meets with Vaughn, he asks, “Can I be honest with you?” I was left thinking if you are a high-end man and this woman is there for your help, wouldn’t you be undeniably honest, to begin with? With no build-up in their relationship, she messes up a single verse in the studio and is then told to “fucking run” to get out of her head. After she does a slight jog, he comes up from behind her, and she breathly says, “How did you – you’re not even fucking winded.” Hinting that he got there at the speed of light, and he wasn’t even out of breath. Of course, he dismisses this and goes back inside. Are we in ‘Twilight’ with Bella as she questions how fast Edward got to saving her from the car killing her? For once, I want a real werewolf or vampire movie with no glitter bodies and no white girls who can sing.
Music and Werewolves – A Confusing Storyline Mix
Again, we get more than enough cheesy dialogue that is just screaming dog throughout as Vaughn says to Charlie, “I made a lot of great music in my life because I know how to trust my instincts.” The mix of music and werewolves just felt unconventional and odd. I was waiting for “Werewolves of London” to start playing cause the combination just did not work. Lauren Beatty, who plays Grey, has potential because she has a piercing, almost wolf-like appearance if you truly look at her facial structure. But her acting is swallowed by the over-done dialogue that is consistently trying to say, “I am a werewolf in a werewolf movie.” It’s exhausting. A film should balance between depicting its meaning visually and emotionally rather than confessing it in every word spoken.
While maybe a competition, I might give the worst acting in the film to Greg Bryk because he comes off as a melodramatic guy who does not know how to balance his character. He tries to be aloof but then wants to confess all of this wolf material. He wants to care about her emotions by saying, “Can I be honest with you?” but then wants to be rude by telling her to get over herself. In all honesty, Vaughn comes off as a pervert and a creep. This dude smells Grey and says she smells “primal.” First off, this is a business relationship, so you have no right coming into my personal space and smelling me, and yet, she goes along with it all.
This represents the disgusting power rich men with status have against aspiring young women and men. These lowlives can say awful things and do even worse things, all while aspiring artists have to go along with it for their success. But here is the deal-breaker, Vaughn takes Grey’s prescribed medication saying she “doesn’t need them.” Excuse me, sir, but you are no medical professional and have zero right to take away someone’s medications that you have just met. She has already been submissive to his disturbing actions, so of course, she would hand over her medication if he asked for it, and that is a disgusting use of power.
When Grey tells Charlie about her rejection of her medication after Vaughn convinces her to do so, Charlie disagrees by telling her that medication is okay and many people take them. And yet Grey rejects this and has the guts to say that she is going to dine alone with Vaughn that night. If I was Charlie, who went to the middle of nowhere with a supposed murderer and my girl acted that way? Oh hell no, I’m getting the car, and we are leaving whether she likes it or not.
Another issue I have is that Grey’s internal struggle is never thoroughly explained, and with a better build-up before she went to the woods, I might’ve had a better chance to understand her struggle. In the beginning, we get no visual indication of her as an artist but relatively just a concept that she is one. There are no physical indicators of her battle of something within other than the beginning nightmare sequence. This movie is digestible, but with more consideration of storyline choices and dialogue, the sequences in the film would be more understandable.
At dinner, Vaughn says, “You’re not just some cookie-cutter, pop star,” but her music says otherwise. The music throughout the film, while good, is not spectacular as it is trying to be. In a way, it’s precisely what a cookie-cutter pop star is. There is a moment in which Vaughn tells Grey that she can leave, but she says, “I want to finish the album.” First off, oh em gee girl, please go home.
The Oversaturated Werewolf Concept
I would almost say that Charlie is under-used because her character could be so much more to the story, but it’s like she’s living in the same house but never seen. So, I’m thinking, is this girl just in the room the entire day painting and doing nothing? Although, the scene when Charlie confronts Vaughn was without a doubt the most cringe thing ever. As Charlie says, “You don’t own her,” I could not help but shiver in cringe from the lackluster and most mono-tone line I have ever heard that held zero conviction. What is this acting?
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When Vaughn gets “hungry,” he requests Vera for his usual, which is, of course, a human. So, Vera picks up a hitchhiker in the snow, then tells her to get out and run? One, why is there a hitchhiker in the middle of nowhere, let alone in a snowy area? Two, aren’t hitchhikers unlikely to be found as it’s been known to be incredibly dangerous, so going out and just finding one at the drop of a hat would be incredibly unlikely?
In all, I think of ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,’ a film that takes on a female vampire but in an incredible way that depicts the vampire idea in an unusual and female power way. ‘Bloodthirsty’ is nowhere near the level of originality in ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,’ but I can see where there might have been potential to make a female werewolf. The female power is not there as it’s heavily saturated with the gaslighting from Vaughn. I truly wanted to like this film, but nothing left me on the edge of my seat or the need to hide under the blankets for a horror–thriller film. A werewolf concept is already overly oversaturated, so with any filmmaker who takes the risk to revise these sorts of characters, you have to do so with extreme originality, and ‘Bloodthirsty’ nowhere met the mark.
In a scene, Vaughn hands over a tiny mouse that is no bigger than a dime and says, “Do you want to be a predator, or be prey? You have to be strong.” By killing a mouse!? You are not seriously saying that for Grey to be a predator, she has to kill a tiny mouse that is the size of a bean.
Vaughn – “I want you to stay with me.”
Grey – “I can’t.”
Vaughn – “I can’t lose you again.”
Grey – “The album is done. I can go back to my life now.”
Vaughn – “No, you can’t.”
Grey – “Yes, I can. I’m not like you.”
Could this be any more gaslighting and laughable to see a man cry about what he wants? It just reads as I’m a big man, and I didn’t get what I want, so I’m going to throw a hissy fit. ‘Bloodthirsty’ is a total of one hour and twenty-four minutes, and it took an entire hour and nine minutes before we got anything that was near “horror” content. From this point on, I will refrain from spoilers but just know there are many “did this just happen?” moments. Just think anticlimactic to the fullest.
In all, ‘Bloodthirsty’ is a disappointing watch, and disappointing to know I paid to watch it.
Where To Watch ‘Bloodthirsty’
‘Bloodthirsty’ releases on April 23, 2021, available to watch on GooglePlay and VUDU.
Where To Find The Stars
In the post-production process, Greg Bryk can next be seen in Andrew Thomas Hunt’s ‘The Fight Machine’ alongside Michael Ironside, Dempsey Bryk, and more. As said on IMDb about ‘The Fight Machine,’ “Two young men from different backgrounds find their destinies linked when they meet up in the world of illegal bare-knuckle fighting.”
Expected in 2021, Katharine King So can next be seen in Michael Mohan’s ‘The Voyeurs’ alongside Sydney Sweeney, Ben Hardy, Justice Smith, and more. As said on IMDb about ‘The Voyeurs,’ “Pippa and Thomas move into their dream apartment, they notice that their windows look directly into the apartment opposite – inviting them to witness the volatile relationship of the attractive couple across the street. But when they attempt to anonymously intercede in their lives, they unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that will lead to disaster.”
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Isabella Brownlee is an experienced writer, video editor and filmmaker. She is currently a writer for Hollywood Insider, focusing on detailed and thought-provoking film reviews and articles discussing truth and impact in the film industry. Driven by self-awareness and unique perspectives, she takes utmost pride in providing others with emotionally impacted knowledge about the film industry. As a writer, her main goal is to connect with the audience and those who find themselves in the back of the bleachers unknown to anyone but beautifully aware of the world. In addition to her primary job functions, Isabella creates and edits videos/films personally and professionally. Aligning with Hollywood Insider’s mission of sharing impactful and influential content, Isabella hopes to enrich her readers with positivity and truth.