Blood Vessel

12/22/2020 06:28

Film: Blood Vessel

Year: 2019

Director: Justin Dix

Writer: Justin Dix and Jordan Prosser

Starring: Nathan Phillips, Alyssa Sutherland and Robert Taylor



This was one that I heard about a few months back after it hit Shudder, but this one didn’t seem to get the buzz those other movies that were heading to this streaming service was getting. There were some aspects to it that caught my attention like vampires, Nazis and during WWII that really peaked my interest to give this a viewing. I won’t waste time here, so the synopsis is lifeboat survivors board a German boat that’s crawling with vampires during World War II.

We learn early on that we’re in 1945 at the end of the war. The German U-boats are now targeting pretty much everything which includes medical boats and merchant vessels. As the synopsis states, we’re in a lifeboat where the survivors look like they’ve been having a rough go at it. This was a bit confusing here are the survivors. Nathan Sinclair (Nathan Phillips) is Australian. Jane Prescott (Aylssa Sutherland) is a nurse from the United Kingdom. Along with her is a British code breaker of Gerard Faraday (John Lloyd Fillingham). They’re led by Captain Malone (Robert Taylor) who is American along with Lydell Jackson (Christopher Kirby) and Jimmy Bigelow (Mark Diaco). They are also joined by a Russian solider of Alexander Teplov (Alex Cooke).

This group is down as a storm rolls in, but they think their plight could be looking up. There is a German ship that is approaching. It appears that no one is on board as they near; no one calls out or tries to attack. One of them sees a girl in white, but when he looks back, she’s gone. They have to make a daring attempt to get onto the ship with Captain Malone not making it.

It is indeed a ghost ship. They go about exploring to see what they’re working with. In the bridge, they find a dead body. It has dark, funky looking veins and the neck is bent weird. The wheel is also chained for a set course. Bigelow, Jackson and Teplov go to the engine room to see that it is running hot and could explode at any moment. Jackson elects to shut it down where Bigelow disagrees. We see there is some animosity between them that is coming to a head here. It is shut down to prevent destruction of the ship and them.

They also realize they aren’t alone on this ship. They discover a young girl of Mya (Ruby Isobel Hall). There is something off about her. Bigelow also finds Nazi gold where Sinclair finds an odd box with what looks like vials of a liquid, a cross and a dagger. The Nazis on board are mostly dead and much of it looks like suicide. They were after something dark and scarier than humanity can imagine. The problem though is that it is still alive or to be more specific, undead.

That should get you up to speed with the story that this movie is giving to us. As I was alluding to in opening paragraph is that I love movies that are set with Nazis as the backdrop. A lot of that is that I’ve learned throughout the years that they were really into the occult and trying to find a way to ensure the 3rd Reich could last for a thousand years and those in power to live that long, if possible. What is interesting here is that they’ve found a vampire. I’m assuming they want to bring it back to Germany. This could be a way of turning the tide. It also feels a bit like the video game BloodRayne.

Taking this, we set it on the boat. This is interesting is that the ship they get on to gives them a bit more protection than the lifeboat they were on. The lifeboats on this one have been sabotaged so at this stage, they’re trapped and that gives it a bit of a contained feel. I really enjoy that. They’re also on a German ship where everyone is a member of the allies, so they have to be careful when calling for help. There is a timeless feel while also feeling like it is WWII. They’re subtle with the clothing, technology and weaponry, so that all works in its favor from what I could tell as well.

Where I want to go next would be the creatures themselves. I can see why we have Teplov in the movie as he can recognize that Mya is speaking Romanian which I didn’t realize was a combination of Russian, Italian and some other languages as well. He also gives us the back-story of the vampires. He refers to them as Strigoli which means undead. When we finally see the Patriarch of them, Troy Larkin, he looks like Count Orlac from Nosferatu, just amping up the bat like features. I thought that was fine. There’s a good touch with glowing red eyes. Teplov also states that they can control animals and insects as an army. We also they can also control people.

Going along with the look then, I’ll shift to the effects. I think that all of the practical stuff is good. The look of the vampires to the veins as someone is infected with this like a virus. There is a bit of CGI that goes with this as well, but to be honest, I really didn’t have any issues with any of that. There is some CGI/green screen that was done in this movie that really didn’t hold up for me. Thankfully this isn’t a major issue, but something that did take me out slightly. Aside from that I would say that the cinematography was good and I had no issues there.

The last thing that I’ll go over would be the acting which I thought was good in general. Phillips and Cooke to me are interesting. The former is an Aussie while the latter is supposed to be Russian. Not that where they’re from really effects their character, but I think they work well off each other. Both try to keep their head down and do the right thing. They’re strong as our leads in my opinion. Sutherland is solid as this nurse. What works for her is that we learn there is darkness in her past that she has to contend with and it works for where her character ends up. Aside from that, I thought the rest of the cast was distinct and I can appreciate that. If I have an issue with the survivors it is with the writing and how they ended up on this lifeboat together. The vampires were all good as well to help round this out for what was needed.

So with that said, I thought this was a pretty solid movie. It isn’t one that blew me away, but it knows what it wants to do. For me it ticks a lot of boxes of things that I find interesting like the supernatural, Nazis and containing it on a ship. The setting really works for me and giving it that contained feel. I don’t have any issues with the acting and really the only question there is more with the writing. I thought the effects were good for the most part, just some issues with green screen/CGI. What they did for the look of the vampires I was a fan of. The soundtrack to the movie worked with a combination of the music and ambient noise worked there. I don’t think this is a great movie, but one that I enjoyed. For me this is an above average movie, just shy of being good.


My Rating: 7.5 out of 10