Blood Conscious is less of a straightforward horror film and far more in the category of a psychological thriller. At first, it appears to follow the basic home invasion premise, similar to Funny Games and The Purge. However, this doesn’t last long as the motives for the intruder are revealed and the story takes an unexpected, seemingly supernatural turn. The particular style used to tell a familiar story structure is very commendable.
A vacationing family of three turns the tables on a mass shooter who claims to be fighting demonic forces on their remote woodland property. The supernatural elements are similar to something like It Comes At Night with its level of ambiguity. Usually being overly ambiguous with supernatural material is a bit of a gamble, because the viewer wants answers, but I completely respect the artist’s choice to leave us with little to no information behind the supernatural elements. The supernatural event may or may not actually be happening, there are no clear answers, just characters trying to survive the world around them.
Early on, Blood Conscious establishes tension through various foreshadowing clues and offers plenty of twists & turns to keep you guessing. The isolating emptiness the forest setting naturally brings is a great element for the home invasion genre. It doesn’t hurt that the atmosphere and tone are consistently creepy as well as extremely foreboding.
The actors feel extremely natural and they display absolutely wonderful chemistry together on screen. The mostly black cast lead by Oghenero Gbaje, DeShawn White, & Lenny Thomas carry the weight of the film through their powerhouse performances and it helps that each character has a distinguished voice. The acting styles are very subtle yet dedicated, and enthusiastic enough to keep you entertained and intrigued. Blood Conscious is a true ensemble piece, with each character balancing out the other. The supporting cast also does a fantastic job at nailing their roles, either at being an angry bastard or spaced-out creepy neighbor.
Blood Conscious creates high production value with a low budget, making great use of the natural forest & cabin locations. The cinematography uses a clean and controlled style to create engaging visuals. The lighting on the exterior night scenes is also impressive, given the low-budget nature of the film. It does fall short in creating a distinct color palette for the interior cabin scenes, but the aesthetic of the location itself is enough to feel the basic personality of the cabin.
Overall, Blood Conscious (available via VOD) has many qualities the creators should be proud of. If you’re someone who enjoys slow-burn, character-driven indie thrillers this is absolutely a film to add to your watchlist.
7 out of 10