09th Apr2019

‘Blood Craft’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Madeleine Wade, Augie Duke, Dave Sheridan, Mark Rolston, Michael Welch, Dominique Swain, Anna Harr | Written by James Cullen Bressack, Madeleine Wade | Directed by James Cullen Bressack


Blood Craft, co-written by actress Madeleine Wade and director James Cullen Bressack, tells the creepy story of two sisters who suffered abuse as children at the hands of their sadistic father decide, after his death, to use witchcraft to bring his spirit back to get revenge.

If you’re a long time reader of Nerdly, you’ll know that we’ve been championing the work of James Cullen Bressack for years now – from being blown away by the raw aggressive nature of his first feature My Pure Joy; to trying to release a number of his films in the UK via our “Nerdly Presents” banner, an effort which saw Bressack’s Hate Crime officially make the banned by the BBFC list and a VOD release for his follow-up To Jennifer. Of course since then Bressack has moved more into a producing role only occassionally getting back behind the camera and not just for genre product (CarGo anyone?)

Blood Craft, formerly known as Together (a much better title IMHO), is Bressack first horror film to be released since 2017’s Bethany and marks a decidedly different director than the man behind My Pure Joy, Hate Crime and To Jennifer. Out has gone the rough, gritty direction and in comes a director who knows what he wants to say, not just in traditional storytelling terms but also visually, in this case using cinematography and lighting to great aplomb. But where you can really tell this is a new James Cullen Bressack is that he doesn’t linger on the torture and mutilation as he did in his previous films, instead he uses those detestable moments to horrify the audience.

And Blood Craft is horrific in more ways than one – touching on child abuse, incest, rape, murder, forced abortion, embezzlement and much more… This is less the American dream and more an American nightmare.

At the centre of this tale is Minister Hall, the now-deceased father of sisters Grace and Serena, a priest who’s the antithesis of what a priest should be – abusing his children in more ways than one, embezzling funds from the church, etc. Surprisingly this evil sonofabitch is played by Dave Sheridan, who I’ll always remember as Doofy from Scary Movie but who here puts in a performance that is a million miles away from said character. Then there’s co-writer Madeleine Wade, who also stars in the film as Grace. She has something of an uphill battle when it comes to her role – the audience will automatically think she’s the star because she wrote the film; and, honestly, for the most part you assume that to be true… However when the film reveals its secrets you realise just how good a performance she’s actually given. There are layers to her character and to her acting that are as hidden away as the truths in this film and as they all unravel together you can’t help but admire and be impressed by just how nuanced Wade actually is/was.

An interesting genre take on the long-term effects of the breakdown of a family and the abuses that can follow, Blood Craft is an intriguing new direction for Bressack – feeling much more like a mainstream Hollywood production than any of his oeuvre that has come before. I’ve said it before but this film confirms it: give this man a bigger budget, a decent crew and a big-name cast and he could turn out anything to rival Blumhouse and co.

Blood Craft is available on demand across the US from today, April 9th.


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