KICKING BLOOD (#TIFF21)
A more modern take on a vampire tale, Kicking Blood delivers a thoughtfully metaphoric view of struggling with addiction in an uneven, yet beautiful entry into an overpopulated genre.
When a vampire (Alanna Bale) decides her blood-sucking days are behind her, she attempts to “get clean” in order to become human again, all as a new human friend (Luke Bilyk) battles his alcoholism. Writer/director Blaine Thurier takes an interesting approach here, essentially establishing blood as a drug vampires need to get high (and, yes, stay eternally alive). While this is a fresh way to tackle this type of story, the overall film is devoid of any impactful developments and boringly one-note. Lust, desire, and villainous vampire friends pepper the plot, but never take that next anticipated step towards becoming a gripping tale.
Kicking Blood is, however, cinematically beautiful and well-directed, lacking story aside. Thurier has an eye for bringing solid performances out of the unknowns cast in the film, each delivering story-appropriate performances. In the end, while the film will satisfy you in terms of the story presented, it really is a missed opportunity that could have truly been a standout.