Philip Gelatt’s directorial debut, “The Bleeding House” is slow paced and dull, a thriller with a lack of action scenes, poor props and a weak premise.
Living in seclusion on the back roads of a Midwestern small town, the Smith family – how original – have a past they rather not talk about. Or at all for that matter. The tension between husband Matt (Richard Bekins), and wife Marilyn (Betsy Aidem) is undeniable.
Their 16-year-old daughter Gloria (Alexandra Chando), who only answers to “Black Bird” does not attend school anymore. Instead she keeps to herself and her odd collection of dead insects tacked to her bedroom wall. The most normal of the family, their 18-year-old son Quentin (Charlie Hewson) spends most of his time sneaking his girlfriend in and out of the house.
At first glance, the Smiths seem like your average family; dysfunctional marriage, misunderstood teenage girl and horny teen male, well guess again.
The effort to hide their past has deprived them of any human contact for years. The Smith’s prayers for a bit of normalcy seem to be answered as a stranger, Nick (Patrick Breen), from out of town appears on the front lawn. The Smith’s good deed goes unnoticed as a white suited Nick makes their life a bit more unusual.
Turns out the philosophically versed Nick has baggage of his own and preys on other broken families calling his work God’s will.
After wasting the first hour of the film vaguely talking in circles about the dark Smith family past, the secret surfaces. The anticipation isn’t worth the unveiling of the truth. Looks like collecting dead insects isn’t Gloria’s only morbid hobby. However, when Nick seeks her to assist him in carrying out his divine duties, he’s in for a surprise of his own.
The storyline would not have been terrible if the movie did not fall short of action shots. There was more philosophical gibberish and religious references than anything else. There was not enough horror. Even the clips that were supposed to be hostile were not convincing. The actors were effortlessly and instantly knocked unconscious by mundane household objects. There was little to no struggle between Nick and his victims, killing two out of the four family members in no time.
Nick’s weird fixation to drain blood from the corpse and bottling it was poorly portrayed. Claiming to be a surgeon, Nick’s was fully equipped and skilled in the process, which was similar to filling tubes for a blood test. However, the blood was clearly fake; it appeared thick like molasses.
Just like the artificial gore, the acting could have been more compelling. The family members express few emotions of fear. They were given suffient time to convey their anguish as they were completely blindsided when their end approached. Again a the lack of struggle, resulted in a loss of connection with the characters. The cast did a better job communicating anxiety of being confined to their home in the beginning than fearing a murder.
With many of its own flaws “The Bleeding House” should steer away from pointing out those of other families.
With a title like “The Bleeding House,” certain expectations are set for violence and bloodshed that just aren’t met. The film’s mediocre production and over all performance was a disappointment.