09th Sep2013

‘The Bleeding House’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Alexandra Chando, Nina Lisandrello, Patrick Breen, Richard Bekins, Betsy Aidem, Charlie Hewson, Court Young, Henderson Wade, Victoria Dalpe | Written and Directed by Philip Gelatt

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The Bleeding House is a mystery horror movie directed by Philip Gelatt, a director who hasn’t done anything else as far as research can tell, as a director. Gelatt also wrote the screenplay to the movie. The film, originally titled “The Bleeding” was released in the US in 2011. I remember seeing the cover-art for this film a few months ago and it stood out, the white and red silhouette of a man holding a suitcase on a black background. It’s a great cover for a film that I otherwise knew nothing about.

The plot of the film is intriguing from the start. A family in a country home appear to be battling something from their past, attempting to start fresh. A stranger stops by looking for a place to stay. Revealing his name to be Nick, the stranger finds solace under the family’s roof. The mysterious behaviours of both Nick the stranger and the family as well as the past they harbour begins to reveal themselves as the film goes on. Things become darker and more brutal and the past of the family begins to unravel. It’s a plot we’ve seen before in different ways, a stranger who comes to stay who might be a little bit, shall we say, peculiar. The revealing twist is different though, and overall it doesn’t feel like just “the same old”.

The young daughter, Gloria, who likes to be called “Blackbird”, likes to collect bugs and creatures and tack them to her bedroom wall. It’s all very weird. An atmosphere of impending violence is present throughout the opening twenty minutes of the film, with surreal glances from the characters that nudge at sinister possibilities of what might exist in not only their pasts but their presents as well.

Nick, played by Patrick Breen (Men in Black, Galaxy Quest) is a fascinating character, and Breen plays him well. A southern surgeon with a mystery behind his eyes, you can’t help but wonder about him with every movement he makes and dialogue he speaks. He is subtle and calm, bringing a more creepy edge.

Some of the performances are a little rusty, but for the most-part, the cast do a good job of creating doubt, wonder and curiosity, adding to a menacing feeling in the viewers’ stomach. Gelatt directs the film well, leaving the actors and the story to unfold without any flash and stylistic obstruction, but you can’t help but see a certain amateur side to some of the shots. It isn’t distracting, just noticeable in the odd moment.

The jump from calm and unusual to just plain and simply violent stands out and lends a hand to the films progression, allowing it to not become tedious, repetitive or slow. There’s plenty here to satisfy fans of slow burning old school horror movies as well as gore hounds who like a little (or a lot) of blood and brains in their horror flicks. None of it is overdone though, and for that I am thankful. While The Bleeding House isn’t the most original or inspiring of horror films, it certainly brings a certain gust of fresh air to a genre that is hit and miss as far as well-made independent films.

It’s not perfect, but it’s very enjoyable. The main performances are well acted and the plot, while fairly simple, is intriguing and mysterious enough to keep one guessing until the film comes to its end.

The Bleeding House is out now on DVD from Safecracker Pictures.

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