BLOOD CONSCIOUS (2021)
Directed and written by Timothy Covell.
Starring Oghenero Gbaje, DeShawn White, Lenny Thomas, Lori Hammel, Nick Damici
Find out more about this film here!
Bethany (DeShawn White), her fiancé Tony (Lenny Thomas), and her little brother Kevin (Oghenero Gbaje) go on a trip to visit their parents at a remote cabin on a lake. Once they arrive, they find the house deserted and an unhinged and unnamed man (STAKE LAND’s Nick Damici) claiming that people are being taken over by demons. Thus begins a descent into madness and paranoia as the three debate about whether the man is delusional or maybe there really is something paranormal going on.
BLOOD CONSCIOUS is a very low budget film reliant on conversation, conflict, and drama to make up for the lack of big effects sequences or high production spectacle. While there are guns, knives, and other weaponry brandished that suggest action, there’s a whole lot of talking in this film. The three argue in the car about Kevin’s lack of motivation. They debate about whether to stay until help arrives or take their chances in the woods. They pontificate about whether or not demons exist or the people of the lake community may be experiencing some kind of contagious shared delusion. Fortunately, the three leads are pretty strong actors and they make these debates work as they move form cabin to cabin and go from prisoners to wardens and finally to reluctant executioners. There is a foreboding sense of untrust throughout BLOOD CONSCIOUS that may not be as powerful as such paranoid classics as INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and more recently, THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE, but they strike some of the same chords.
While I commend the filmmakers for really going big with the drama, despite the low budget and low scale of the story, I did feel that the film amounted to a big bowl of nothing by the time the credits rolled. The non-ending of BLOOD CONSCIOUS is going to piss off a lot of people as it is never made clear if the threat is real or not and the ending suggests a movie that seems far more interesting than the one I watched to lead up to it. It’s frustrating because I feel White, Thomas, Gbaje, and especially the always great Nick Damici really deliver solid performances, but the story just feels flimsy and really feels like leadup to a more promising sequel.
I wish there were more meat on the bone with BLOOD CONSCIOUS. It’s great that this is a film that stars an African American cast and it really does steer clear of making these characters stereotypes you’ve seen in tons of other horror films. That said, decent acting can’t save a movie if the story is as flimsy as this no matter how promising the premise is.