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A TASTE OF BLOOD (aka A.K. TOLSTOY’S A TASTE OF BLOOD, SANGRE VURDULAK, 2020)

Directed by Santiago Fernández Calvete.
Written by Santiago Fernández Calvete, from the novel by Aleksei Tolstoy.
Starring Germán Palacios, Alfonsina Carrocio, Naiara Awada, Tomás Carullo Lizzio, Lautaro Bettoni, Beto Bernuéz, Martín Rena, Carmela Merediz, Jose Manuel Solis Vargas, Julieta Daga!

A TASTE OF BLOOD begins with a young gal named Natalia (Alfonsina Carrocio) and her boyfriend Aguirre (Germán Palacios) arriving at the house at a simple house in Argentina. She is met by her father who scolds the girl to come inside quickly, as there seem to be a vampire infestation in the surrounding woods. But after spending the night, the couple leave only to find themselves drawn back to her father’s home after tangling with a vampire. The rest of the film plays out as the viewer and the vampire hunting father are forced to guess who is the vampire in the house among his family members.

A TASTE OF BLOOD has sets the stage for some wonderfully dank and dismal scenes of vampire action in a misty and dark forest. There are numerous scenes of high tension and peril as the two youngsters throw caution to the wind and would rather be together than be safe. I think there’s an interesting tale of how far a family’s obsession can go before it breaks in A TASTE OF BLOOD, but I don’t know if it communicates that tale in the clearest of ways.

One of the reasons I was left scratching my head was the choice to have the younger kids speak English while the rest of he cast speak Spanish. It’s not that the use of two languages confused me, it was that the father would say something in Spanish and then Natalia would respond in English, and instead of responding back in English, the father stuck with Spanish. I was kind of like, just pick a language and stick with it! But unfortunately, no one listens to me and the entire film is dialogued in that manner.

On top of that, I was a little hazy on what era and age this film was taking place in. It seems like it wants to tell a story set in a primitive time with old world customs, yet the soundtrack is littered with modern dance and house music. Just when I was getting a Hammer Films vibe as the vamps stalked the family in the woods, a driving base beat rings out that felt completely out of place.

There just seemed to be too many elements of strangeness for me to get completely into A TASTE OF BLOOD. It does a lot right. The vamps are truly scary—depicted as animalistic monsters with sores on their mouths. They look infectious, gross, and dangerous. I also liked the mystery aspect of who is actually afflicted with vampirism. It made me not trust anyone. But at the same time, simple things like language and tone gives the film an uneasy vibe that makes it hard to completely understand. A TASTE OF BLOOD turned out to be a mixed bag. If you’re a vampire completist, I think you’ll find enough to like, but A TASTE OF BLOOD feels a little bit all over the place for my tastes.

Check out the trailer here!!