From the very beginning, we can tell something isn’t quite right. Something darker is just beyond what we see at the top level. Though you can’t place your finger on it, you’re compelled to keep watching to the end. There are plenty of stalker/obsession thrillers out there. Where Bloodshot Heart stands out though is the overall strong performances and the direction. You soon feel like you can’t trust what you’re watching and hearing, much like the main character.
We meet Hans, a driving instructor, as he finishes up with a student. We then follow him as he rushes home to his mother and get a look at him home life. Through the night we learn that they are to receive a new tenet for a room they are renting out. As time goes by Hans becomes more and more infatuated with Matilda leading into a downward spiral of obsession, delusion, and bad choices.
Like I mentioned earlier, one of the things this film has going for it are the overall strong performances. Hans (Richard James Allen) as the unstable lead does great conveying his shaky mental state and decent down a darker path. Matilda (Emily David) is the new girl who may or may not have something more below the surface, and it played as such. You would be hard pressed to find a truly weak link among the cast.
Another strong point of Bloodshot Heart is the direction and editing. From wrong names being used in passing to the camerawork reflecting a drug induced stupor, every scene is framed to have you feel at least part of what is going on in that moment. And then there’s the editing, which only adds to the sense of uneasiness and underlying issues. While the pacing itself may lead to some rough patches, the editing is rarely to blame for any confusion or mishaps.
Is it a perfect thriller? No, not at all. There are some pacing issues and a bit too many subplots are left unanswered. Though I can see the reasoning as the filmmakers only wanted us to focus on the story right in front of us, it still comes off as juggling with too many balls in the air. Overall this is one of those times where I wish the runtime was a bit longer. I was unsure what kind of film was going to watch when I started this, but as time went on, I felt compelled to see how it ended. Because of those strong performances and the equally strong direction, I could easily overlook the pacing and at times clunky dialog.
If you’re in the mood for an atmospheric thriller that doesn’t spoon feed you all the information, Bloodshot Heart is for you. Just be sure to keep your expectations in check, this isn’t some action packed, blood-soaked horror film. It is more personal story with an added bit of thriller and a dash of obsession. By then end of it, I may have had more questions than answers, but ultimately, it was time well spent.
This film is part of Fantaspoa, which ran for free on the streaming platform Darkflix, from April 9th through the 18th. All film screenings are geo-blocked to Brazil, with additional details available at www.fantaspoa.com.
7 out of 10