Director Amelia Moses takes a common horror genre story and sprinkles it with creative choices that set Bloodthirsty apart from others, even as the film fails to fire on all cylinders.
When a singer (Lauren Beatty) is invited to work with a renowned producer (Greg Byrk), her stay in his isolated recording studio in the woods leads to self-discovery and transformation unlike anything she could have expected. As quickly becomes clear, Bloodthirsty is a unique take on a werewolf story helmed by a director (Moses) with a unique approach. Through the female characters within her films, Moses seeks to explore female anxieties through a horror lens, a creative use of a familiar genre that allows for exploration of new, relevant corners. Beatty commands the screen in her role as he confusion over an identified difference within her boils into fear and ultimate understanding. The horror in this film is a mere conduit for the overarching story, one that Moses makes the most of.
That doesn’t mean that the Bloodthirsty works in all aspects, unfortunately. This clearly low-budget production utilizes its limited set pieces and simple practical effects to tell the tale, but you are never lost in the film, rather acutely aware of what you are watching (the “blood” reminded me of beet juice immediately). What Moses does is take a mediocre script and attempt to infuse it with relevance through subtle choices in nonverbal performances and filming choices. Her take on the project features refreshing direction, such as the decision to not have Byrk’s character react in any way to the introduction of Beatty’s character’s girlfriend, a decision that communicates acceptance and understanding (we discussed this in an interview that will post later this week).
What Bloodthirsty ultimately represents, in my opinion, is Moses honing her skills and prepping for future projects; it is clear that she brings a fresh voice to the stage. Aside from the directing and Beatty’s performance, not to mention the Bloodthirsty song that will surely be stuck in your head for days, the film is a tired misfire.
Bloodthirsty hits limited theaters, VOD, and on demand this Friday.