Thursday, 5 December 2013

Summer's Blood (2009) Lee Demarbre

Ah, the curse of an inviting premise and an active imagination. See, when I read of a nutter kidnapping a girl to be part of his garden, I imagine upright burial in earth, rows of unfortunates dead and dying, pale faces gasping in hunger and smeared in dirt. You know, kinda Motel Hell style but meaner. Not just a girl chained up on top of, not even within, a gardening plot in a cellar. Massive let down really. 

This is basically just your average innocent trapped by psycho family fare. Moves along fairly effortlessly, quite nicely shot, with just a couple of tweaks. As main weirdo Tom, Peter Mooney is good value the young, handsome and charming sort of loon he does a solid, even somewhat creepy job, one imagines him a nice guy outside of being irreparably broken. His "normality" does well to drive the film just a little beyond its mediocre reaches, contrasting well with the more outlandish incest themes. Contrasting too with the other villains, with whom he also shares effective chemistry. Barbara Niven works well as equally broken but considerably more downtrodden and desperate mother Gaia, but the main draw is Stephen McHattie as vicious yet charismatic dad Gant, just a bucket of fun in the final block. Classing things up with his tough, cool approach yet simultaneously bringing everyone down by being a big old scumbag, a turn of wickedly entertaining vim. 

Unfortunately this is otherwise pretty average, seen it all before stuff. Rather little in the way of bloodshed, sleaze or driving nastiness, distinctly disappointing given that director Lee Demarbre made the rather satisfyingly grisly and unhinged HG Lewis homage Smash Cut in the same year. There were the germs of something really quite appealingly twisted here, Earth mother as fount of sickness, irresistible attractive forces of family and nature turned utterly to wrongness, but things never grow, it's quite a downer But worst of all is the never convincing or compelling Ashley Greene as the heroine. Nice looking young lady and I'm sure she's lovely in real life, but Bob bless her a good actress she is not. She clearly tries, kudos to her, but no. 

So what we're left with is a generally competent affair, better than it might have been and passably worthwhile to addicts like myself that just have to watch, but still average and a little disappointing. Better than a poke in the eye with a wet stick though... 

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