Directed by Phillip Gelatt
Written by Phillip Gelatt
Starring Patrick Been, Alexandra Chando, Betsy Aidem, Richard Bekins, & Charlie Hewson
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THE BLEEDING HOUSE is one of those films that would make a great stage play. There’s basically one set, a family home, and most of the action centers around one character, Nick, a smooth talking Southern gentleman dressed in a white suit played wonderfully by character actor Patrick Been. Nick shows up on the doorstep of the Smith family home, but just as Nick has intentions he is hiding, the family itself has a dark secret. This is one of those films that is boiled down to basics, not overshooting its budget and taking full advantage of the talented actors assembled and a riveting script written.
The delivery from Patrick Been, an actor you’ll immediately recognize but if you’re like me, you won’t know from where, is both charming and chilling. The story is pretty straight forward with a few surprises along the way, but nothing that isn’t telegraphed from the very instant Nick sets foot on the Smith’s property. Though the first forty or so minutes of this film flirt with being one of those ORDINARY PEOPLE/AMERICAN BEAUTY type films with a dysfunctional family with offbeat secrets, as soon as Nick starts picking at the family like an open wound, things start getting really interesting.
I don’t want to oversell this film; it falls just short of terrifying due to the fact that a lot of the elements at play here has been seen before in your typical stalker films as Nick makes his way through the family with sharp words and an even sharper knife (which is a pocket knife like I’ve never seen before, unfolding from the middle of the blade handle—me want one!). Though we may have seen it before, Been’s performance is what makes this film shine. If anything, his performance here should garner him some much needed attention. His lanky form and beady eyes are definitely able to cause unease with a glance. I’d love to see more of him in larger roles.
Though THE BLEEEDING HOUSE isn’t blazing new territory, it does do it well and with Been’s performance as the Southern stranger and writer/director Phillip Gelatt’s poetic script, there’s a classic, literary feel to the film. Again, I’d love to see this adapted into a play. Maybe it was. Maybe it will be. As it is, THE BLEEDING HOUSE is a fine thriller.