Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Aphrodite Nikolovski, Richard Tyson, Jordan Trovillion, Erika Hoveland, Julie Kline, Tevis R. Marcum, Phillip Shaun DeVone, Christine Marie, Nick Sarelli, Chevonne Wilson, Scott Norman, Whitney Wagner, William C. Fox, Calhoun Koenig, Wendel Millstead, Ashley Killips
Written by: Robert Joseph Butler, Alexis Irvine
Directed by: Robert Joseph Butler
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 104
Date: 10/20/2020
IMDB

Blood Immortal (2020)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Mudbloods

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After making many short films, as well as writing about film, director and co-writer Robert Joseph Butler makes his feature debut with this serious, austere vampire film. Inspired by the likes of Ingmar Bergman and David Lynch, Blood Immortal finds fresh ground for the old vampire genre. It was released on DVD October 20, 2020, and it can be streamed on TubiTV or rented/purchased at Fandango.

Told in three chapters in three different timelines, the film wonders what might happen if the vampires' food supply (i.e. humans) insisted on poisoning its own environment, and, therefore, itself. Climate change will eventually destroy the planet, but vampires will just keep on being here, with less and less to feast upon. It's a big question to ponder, and Butler leaves room in his thoughtfully paced narrative to ponder it.

The first chapter takes place in the past, in the early days of America. Two settlers, the gravely ill widow Josephine (Aphrodite Nikolovski) and her daughter Eliza (Julie Kline), struggling to get by. Mr. Duncan (Richard Tyson, Black Hawk Down) — first seen biting the neck of a stranded maiden — appears at their door, trying to get them to sell their land. But when he sees how ill Josephine is, he chooses another plan of attack.

In a modern-day segment, Mr. Duncan's daughter Fiona (an impressive, potent Jordan Trovillion, Vanishing on 7th Street) has trouble surviving on the tainted, polluted blood of humans and tries to buy black-market blood.

Meanwhile, she takes night classes in economics and becomes drawn to the professor (Erika Hoveland), even attempting to re-kindle an old romance for her. The third segment takes place sometime in the future, after a societal collapse (we see a man roasting a cat for food). Fresh blood has turned into a vicious black market, and there is an attempt to infiltrate it. Eliza and Josephine appear in this one, many centuries later.

What's most impressive about Blood Immortal is the way that Butler manages to deal in serious issues, but blends his concerns beautifully into the dialogue (even the economics lectures seem to flow along with the story). Brainy and bleak, Blood Immortal is closer to something like Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive than it is to sexy, romantic, or action-packed vampire stories that tend to rule the box office. But certain creatures of the night will find much to admire.

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