Monday, May 9, 2011
Re-thinking Bleeding House (2011)- I've partly changed my mind
Back on April 27th I ran a short review of Bleeding House and I called it a minor movie worth viewing only on a slow night. However over time my opinion changed in regard to the film at least in some respects, or rather in one respect: I think you should see the film the film for Patrick Breen's performance as Nick.
For those who don't remember the earlier review I'll give you a brief explanation of the plot. Just outside of Cleveland live the Smiths. They are a shut away family cut off from society. The reason for their living off to themselves lies in a tragedy years before where Mrs Smith burned down the house of the Bells, killing the whole family. She was spared prison thanks to the legal maneuvering of Mr Smith. As a result they are not wanted parts of the community. It's also left a deep scar on Gloria their daughter who collects insects which she tacks to the wall. Quentin, the son is looking to get out and is planning on running away with his girlfriend at the first opportunity. Into their lives comes Nick. he's a kind southern gentleman who is looking for aid because his car broke down. He's called for help but can't get any until the morning. reluctantly the Smiths let him in. they are hoping word of their good deed will help open doors to their community. Sadly even though Nick seems to be a nice guy and wins the affection of everyone, he does in fact do what he jokes about doing, "I carve people up". He says it's because he's a surgeon. Actually it's because he's a religious psycho who takes out people he perceives to be morally corrupt. He feels that by killing them he is freeing their souls.
I'm going to reveal a spoiler here so if you don't want to know skip to the next paragraph. The crux of the final third of the film comes with the revelation, one you pretty much know from minute one, that the death of the Bells had nothing to do with the mother, but was in fact the work of Gloria, who is a psychotic as they come, complete with a love of killing animals. The battle in the final third is the question of whether Gloria will listen to Nick and join him on his rampage or if she will battle him to the end. It's no where near as clever as it sounds so everything flounders.
As I said before the film isn't all that special. It's extremely well made and well acted but the film has enough plot for maybe just more than an a single episode of a show like Tales From The Darkside or Monsters. The film is also filled with logic gaps and plot holes (You can't store paper in the woods under leaves and have it look fresh, people's ages are wildly wrong for the time frame inferred) that collapse the whole house of cards much to easily. It's a well meaning film that isn't bad, but really isn't worth the time except in passing...
...or would be if it wasn't for Patrick Breen as Nick. Breen is the whole movie. If the film were any better as a whole this would be the role to shoot him to the top of the heap. It's a quiet mannered performance that is just the right amount of creepy...and you can't help but like him and trust him even as he's draining the blood from your veins. Breen's performance is horror classic. It's one of those performances you can't forget.
Think about it.
I saw this film over a month a go at a screening, I wrote up a dismissive review to appear when the film premiered and yet here I am, writing it up in a full review as the first film in a series of highlighting the best of Tribeca just over a week after my negative review.
Because despite a month of movies, despite everything else, when I finally sat down to really think about the films I wanted to write about I couldn't get Nick out of my head. It's a brilliant performance. It's wonderfully written. It's clear that writer director Philip Gelatt loved his character and he gave him some of the best lines a villain could wish for. (I do have to say that Gelatt's dialog is wonderful across the board, it's just his plotting and pacing that don't really work).
If you are a horror fan you need to see this performance. It's a new gold standard for screen villainy.
The film currently on VOD on cable and satellite as part of the pay per view Tribeca package. It's due for a limited theatrical lease starting Friday. Personally I'd go for the VOD and get a bunch of friends.