Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse

11/18/2022 06:20

Film: Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse

Year: 2022

Director: Seth Breedlove

Writer: Jason Utes

Starring: Adam Alderson, Meghan Barylak and Lindsay Dunphy



This is another documentary type film from Seth Breedlove that I got the chance to see the screener thanks to Justin Cook. This one is covering a cryptid that interests me in the ‘Jersey Devil’. It is also one that I have limited knowledge on as well.

Synopsis: something stalks the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. A demon said to inhabit the dark forests of these land has stalked and terrified the locals for centuries, but what is the story behind its dark origin?

For this, we are getting a bit different take from what I’m used to when it comes from a Breedlove documentary. We first get to learn a bit where this takes place. In the northern part of New Jersey, there are cities. The south of this state is a dense forest that is called the Pine Barrens. There is lore that there is a cryptid that wanders the area known as the ‘Jersey Devil’ or the ‘Leeds Devil’.

What didn’t necessarily work from here is we get a couple of stories of people being attacked by this creature. I’m not sure if these are stories that people shared. We normally get in these docs the stories told by the people who went through them. The acting in these was amateur. I’m not going to harp on it too much but did want to point that out. Interspersed are experts on the subject giving information, which I did enjoy.

From here though, we do get these experts telling the history of the creature and its cultural impact. What I found interesting is that we get a story from 1909 and it is filmed in the style that would be popular in the 1920s. They talk about how the story spread from there, but then it goes to an earlier story from the 1800s and even further that the origins could be as far back as 1735 when the Leeds family came to North America. We have experts that are laying it out as this feels like something you’d see on the History Channel. I’ll be honest, this is a different from other Breedlove documentaries as well. We would get a bit of this, just not as much of a focus. I was a fan though since I had heard of this cryptid. I just didn’t necessarily know the story behind it.

Something else that I noticed was the commentary behind the creation of this entity. It seems that in the beginning it was done by religious groups that wanted to get Leeds out of their area. I’m not shocked to see religious leaders doing shady things for their own gain and power. From there though, in the 1800s it seems to be a way to explain why animals were dying. Science wasn’t as widely used yet and they’re also taking from indigenous folklore. What really struck me was that in the early 1900s, there was a dime museum that was making up stories to get people in their business. The newspapers were also doing this to be more sensational so we are seeing the beginning of news trying to be ‘entertaining’ to sell. An early look at the 24-hour news cycle.

Where I want to go then from here is the filmmaking. I come to expect when I see Breedlove’s name attached that we get good cinematography. He does well in capturing the area that this takes place. Giving you a feel of the area and even pointing out how difficult it would be to find a creature like this with how dense the woods are. There is CGI that is used for the re-enactments. It isn’t great, but I also let it slide since this creature most likely isn’t real. Other than that, I think that the sound design and background tracks are fine for what was needed.

In conclusion, this is another solid documentary. I like what Breedlove does with giving the background of the Jersey Devil. This leans less into people’s encounters with it or trying to find it and more into the history. I do appreciate that since I learned things I didn’t know. There is even a bit of commentary on why it was created which is interesting. This is well-made from the cinematography to the soundtrack. The CGI isn’t great, but what it is used for is fine. If you are interested in learning more about this cryptid, I would recommend giving this a watch.


My Rating: 6 out of 10