Save for daylight or maybe a stake to the center, vampires stay perpetually. As an alternative of only one lifetime, they’ll expertise many. That signifies that an everyday staple in vampire fiction depicts the erosion of time, the place pleasure and discovery ultimately wane and tedium units in. Kicking Blood provides to the existential dialog, that includes a world-wearied bloodsucker grappling with morality and mortality. Whereas it brings each bit of favor befitting of everlasting life, it lacks a poignant chew.
Anna (Alanna Bale) is drained. Anna’s bored with shedding individuals she likes as a lot as she’s bored with the individuals she drains. She nonetheless loves the excessive that comes from consuming blood, although. An opportunity encounter with a suicidal alcoholic, Robbie (Luke Bilyk), and her ailing pal Bernice (Rosemary Dunsmore) assembly dying on her personal phrases has Anna questioning the extra predatory nature of her longtime searching companions. It has her questioning her very existence.
Director Blaine Thurier, who co-wrote the script with Leonard Farlinger, infuses Anna’s story with a gothic bohemian type. Vibrant blue and pink lighting pulse all through, evocative of blood pumping by means of veins and arteries. Anna is one fashionable vampire, proper right down to her style in music and residing quarters. Even the virtually psychedelic ecstasy that captures simply how stoned vampires get after they feed oozes cool. It’s a gorgeously moody function, with Thurier capturing the ethereal however blasé temperament of everlasting life by means of visuals.
That’s each its energy and its weak point. Kicking Blood is effortlessly cool, but it surely’s additionally a bit hole. As well-produced as it’s, it favors telling over exhibiting. Anna’s bond with Bernice holds extra weight than the central budding relationship between Anna and Robbie. There’s no gradual construct or nuance to their actions or selections. We’re simply meant to roll with the virtually impulsive however life-changing selections they make just by being in one another’s orbit.
Bale is so efficient at portraying Anna’s stone-cold weariness that she’s nearly completely a closed guide. She wanders right into a grocery retailer and squeezes the life out of a strawberry, an existential second of contemplation that doesn’t hit as arduous because of Anna’s unmovable stoic masks. Thurier favors these mood-building moments over storytelling or fleshing out his characters, which might engender extra rooting curiosity and engagement. We by no means actually get to know anybody in any respect. How did Robbie get thus far? Why did assembly Anna turn out to be the catalyst for repairing his life? None of that issues, and regardless of Bilyk’s affability, Robbie finally doesn’t really feel like a personality however a supporting plot gadget. A late-game character will get dropped into the fray with all of the indicators that she’s vital. We’re once more left to just accept her wholesale based mostly on the indicated historical past with Robbie and nothing else.
Aesthetically, Kicking Blood is beautiful to have a look at and pulls you in with its type. Narratively it leaves you as chilly because the snowy setting. The dependancy to blood idea and vampires who enjoy getting excessive from it makes for an attention-grabbing thought, but it surely’s solely superficially explored. It’s solely Bernice’s character that may handle to drag out some semblance of humanity in Anna, and that’s peripheral. We by no means actually care concerning the core relationship it desires us to, which is supposed to behave because the driving power of the complete plot. It’s a panoramic however considerably empty waltz by means of vampirism.