Aaron's Blood (Movie Review)

Aaron's Blood (Movie Review)
5 10

PLOT: When a blood transfusion starts to turn his hemophiliac son into a vampire, a single father has to figure out how to save his child before it's too late.

REVIEW: Vampire movies can tend to be rather fantastical, but occasionally filmmakers will attempt to put immortal bloodsuckers at the center of a story that is told in a more grounded fashion, trying to imagine what these creatures might be like if they existed in our own reality. These attempts have resulted in some of my favorite films - George A. Romero's MARTIN, Tomas Alfredson's LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, Kathryn Bigelow's NEAR DARK. I gravitate toward vampire films done in that style more than I do toward the more traditional Dracula sort of tales or ones where vampires have their own secret society going on, hierarchy and all. With AARON'S BLOOD, writer/director Tommy Stovall has crafted his own version of the down-to-earth vampire story, but I didn't find this one to be very successful.

Things start off promisingly, introducing single father Aaron (James Martinez) and his twelve-year-old son Tate (Trevor Stovall, the director's son) as they continue to try to pick up the pieces after the death of Tate's mother a year before. The two have a shaky relationship - if Tate had to choose between his parents, he would rather his father had been the one to perish in the accident that killed his mom, and Aaron knows his son would have been better off with his mom. He would switch places with her if he could.

Tate is being bullied in school, a plot element reminiscent of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, and one bullying incident results in a medical emergency. A hemophiliac, Tate has to be given a blood tranfusion after suffering a bloody injury to his nose... And unfortunately, during his hospital stay he becomes infected with vampirism.

The vampire blood coursing through Tate's veins has an instant effect on the kid, and this is pretty much where the film started to lose me, as the first changes Tate goes through were too SPIDER-MAN for my taste. He doesn't have to wear glasses anymore, he gains incredible athletic ability, he's able to stand up to his bullies now that he's stronger than them. I enjoyed watching this stuff when Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, but I didn't need to see the situations replayed with a little vampire in his place.

Soon enough the fact that Tate is becoming a vampire is more obvious, and the kid becomes more dangerous. Aaron is a phlebotomist, so he knows a bit about blood, but he's sure never seen something like this before. Luckily for him, there are a couple vampire hunters lurking around to provide some information and give him hope that he can reverse Tate's condition if he moves quickly enough. In a race against time, Aaron seeks to find his son's vampire blood donor.

Somewhere around the appearance of the vampire hunters, another issue with AARON'S BLOOD started to become clear to me - the characters in this film are usually way too subdued when they're reacting to things. James Martinez does handle the drama of it all well in some scenes, but in others it's apparent that Stovall wasn't interested in having much in the way of intense displays of emotions in his movie, even if situations would logically call for it. 

When Aaron and a vampire hunter start having a calm conversation while Tate tears into the vampire hunter's buddy, I get the feeling that two men would probably be much more freaked out if such a thing were really happening. When Tate asks his dad in a deadpan voice "Am I a vampire?" after he has just been feasting on a victim's blood, it's laughable. Throughout the film, I kept thinking again and again that people should be showing more emotion than they do. It was an odd choice to make everyone come off as being so chill.

I can't say I enjoyed much about AARON'S BLOOD. Although the production values are quite good for a project that clearly had a very limited budget, the writing is questionable, the characters are robotic, and situations are silly. It's a respectable attempt at making a vampire movie that's a little different from the norm, but the result just isn't that good. The film's greatest virtue is the fact that it's short, running just 80 minutes, with the end credits rolling at 76. That makes it easier to recommend to anyone who might think it sounds interesting, because if you don't like it at least you only spent 76 minutes on it.

Extra Tidbit: Gravitas Ventures is giving AARON'S BLOOD a limited theatrical release on June 2nd, followed by a VOD release on June 6th.



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