New Horror Releases: Bloodline (2019) - Reviewed

Corny comedies have always followed actors like Seann William Scott. The man is known for his comedic timing, usually portraying characters tortured by bullies or someone looking relatively good for being a braindead cutesie. Having planted his flag in films such as American Pie, Mr. Woodcock and Dude, Where’s My Car, it sounds absurd to even consider his characters as more than a one-dimensional boy with a one-digit IQ.

This is where Bloodline makes your blood run cold. Much like Robin Williams and Jim Carrey before him, Seann William Scott slips into a deadly serious role with such consummate skill that it takes no effort to accept him as a serial killer. Perhaps this is the eeriest factor of the thriller/ horror film Bloodline.

Bloodline is directed by producer-by-trade Henry Jacobson, who makes his feature directorial debut in this film after having directed mostly documentaries before. Jacobson is also one of the three writers of this film alongside Avra Fox-Lerner and Will Honley. 

The story takes us along with Evan (Scott), a serial killer who masquerades as a high school counselor by day, but he is a monster with a mission. A happily married man and new father, he will go to any lengths to keep his family safe from any…and I mean any…interference or threat.

If you do not enjoy selectively graphic content, you might want to pass on this one. Not quite the level of films like Hostel, the first 15 minutes might make you sick if you find things like childbirth repulsive, but otherwise, Bloodline is deliciously manic and malicious.

We soon learn that this caring counselor picks his victims for good reason. We also realize that there is more to this film than gratuitous violence when Evan’s mother, Marie (played by Dale Dickey) joins the party to help out the married couple with their newborn. This is where Bloodline takes off into several disturbing directions.

The film addresses morality, familial devotion and psychology while pursuing the rather predictable vigilante justice avenues. Bloodline also begs the question of nature vs. nurture when it drops us into the pathological tropes of emotional incest syndrome. It forces the audience to decide what exactly makes a good man do bad things and whether this should be socially acceptable or vilified. All this while developing a third plot around Evan’s ignorant and uncertain wife (Mariela Carriga), who seems to be in the eye of the storm.

Seann William Scott is remarkably apt at portraying Evan with a straight, cold performance that leaves no doubt that he is capable of painful practices. Dale Dickey’s portrayal of the subtle, but controlling mother is downright apprehensive as the mother and son take care to keep their secret – a penchant for severe violence. Both Evan and his mother do it all for the love of family, but how would they justify this to Evan’s wife? 

The film moves along at a good rate, although it feels repetitive at points. Apart from the story, it also hits on the unspoken side of domestic violence and sheds light on the repercussions of blood versus environment and this must be where Bloodline gets its fitting title. 

Whether you are looking for gore, psychosis or a good twist, Bloodline will not disappoint. Even if none of the above appeals to you, at least watch it just to see Mr. Woodcock’s dupe frighten you with a mere, blank stare. It is a beautiful thing.

--Tasha Danzig