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FAKE BLOOD (2017)
Directed by Rob Grant
Written by Rob Grant, Mike Kovac, Michael Peterson
Starring Rob Grant, Mike Kovac, Jacqueline Breakwell, Camden Filtness, Nathaniel Moher, Jez Bonham, Tracy Varju, Scott Wallis, Theo Francon, & Len Harvey as John Doe!
I’m 99% sure FAKE BLOOD is a movie and not a documentary…99% sure. I’m pretty sure this is one of the best mock-documentaries you’re going to see. It’s that fraction of doubt that makes it all the more terrifying. I was wondering what the talented folks behind the FARGO-esque caper gone wrong flick MON AMI (a truly excellent film reviewed here) were going to do next, but had no idea they would be able to come up with such an engrossing film proving that these guys are talented and destined for greatness…
…if this is in fact a mockumentary and not a documentary, that is.
FAKE BLOOD starts out from a noble place. A pair of filmmakers (Rob Grant and Mike Kovac who play themselves) have had mild success with a violent comedy called MON AMI and receive a bizarre email of a couple of people reenacting one of the scenes from the movie. This leads Rob and Mike to question their approach to violence in their films. Having never shot a gun, been in a fight, or even talked with anyone who has done a violent act, Rob and Mike believe that to make films with violence they should experience some of it or at least interview some folks who have. After going to a firing range and getting their asses kicked by a martial arts instructor, Rob and Mike still feel like they don’t have any answers. So they go a bit deeper to the edge of the rabbit hole and seek out a person who worked on a friend’s film who seemed to have some prior knowledge of how a person should act if they die. Rob and Mike set up an interview with this individual and what happens next is the stuff pure paranoia, needles and pins filled tension, and sheer psychological horror are made of.
I love the way FAKE BLOOD poses questions but offers up no easy answers. While I believe that one doesn’t have to experience the exact actions one might put into a story or film, I do believe that to understand those actions; experiences, interviews, conversations, and one’s own personal library of feelings can help one understand what a particular character might be going through. In this case, I don’t necessarily agree with Grant who is more of the notion that to put it in one’s film, you should experience it (or at least that’s what Grant’s character believes), but it is a compelling argument and one he delves into with this story. Mike, on the other hand, plays a more rational character here, along for the ride if it seems true to the film’s intent, but questioning that intent the entire time. It appears, or at least is convincing enough to appear, that initially, Grant and Mike set out to make a film responsibly addressing whether violence affects those watching it and what responsibility as filmmakers do they have to depict it realistically versus through a Hollywood lens. As a documentary, FAKE BLOOD brings up compelling and smart questions and most likely, after seeing this one, it’ll inspire some conversation on the matter afterwards.
While later in the film, things are set into motion to pull the documentarians into the action, none of it is over the top. None of it is unbelievable. And again, there’s a part of me that hopes it isn’t real. Assuming it’s not, Grant conveys some moments of over the shoulder checking caution as the filmmakers find themselves in over their heads with no easy way out. This makes for a piece of cinema that will have you riveted to the screen hoping for the well being of all of those involved. Making everything feel as believable as possible are the two likable stars (Grant and Kovac) as this is as much an intellectual argument about on screen violence as it is about the strain of the friendship of these two lifelong buddies. On both levels it works and I loved every nail-biting second of it.
I usually try to reserve a section of my reviews to try to focus on some criticism, especially in overly positive reviews like this one, but honestly, from intriguing start to chilling finish, FAKE BLOOD is all good in my book. Being a fan of the found footage/shockumentary style horror film, FAKE BLOOD is one of the most convincing, most tension-laced, and most tightly-constructed films of its kind you’re going to see. It raises intellectual questions that all filmmakers should debate while never forgetting to entertain. I highly, highly recommended you see this film and dare you not to be compelled to talk about it afterwards.
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