Chris Alexander has added another chapter in the ghoulish book of Irina, his ethereal but lethal vampire. Her first appearance was in Blood for Irina (2012) as she nears the end of her life, then Queen of Blood (2014) a western where she is reborn. She returns once again in Blood Dynasty (2017), picking up where the Queen of Blood ends, with Irina holding a newly born baby in a secluded woodland pool.
In Blood Dynasty we meet a lonely young woman (Cheryl Singleton) roaming a small town, searching for something, perhaps her place in the world. When she arrives at an abandoned boat, impulse or something else makes her call for Irina (Shauna Henry), and her wish is granted.
The two go on a luring spree, but this happens in slow, calculated movements, with the women relishing in each kill, some lasting several minutes as the camera pans over the bites, dripping blood, and crimson lips.
The young woman is in vampiric bliss; she has found a soulmate in bloodlust, but sometimes one must be careful of what one wishes for. Her dangerous companion is unfettered and will ultimately do as she pleases with no regard for those around her.
Alexander has created a world that he enjoys returning to, with its base in nature juxtaposed with the decaying structures of wayward humanity. His signature stark cinematography conveys more loneliness and expansiveness with his use of symmetry and bare props.
There is an artistic, psychedelic look to the film as well, making it a literal and figurative mind trip. Some scenes look like art installations with light, colour and sound creating an atmospheric experience that would do well on the big screen. My only criticism lies with some scenes using intense lighting. In these moments, action is completely blasted out and obscured with white light becoming an assault on the senses, which, in viewing the film as a whole, was probably intentional.
Blood Dynasty is a silent film. With the exception of a couple of words, the characters are silent and express themselves through their actions, or lack thereof. Filling the void of spoken word is the hypnotic synth soundtrack once again created by Alexander, punctuating the stillness. I couldn’t help think of the John D. Hancock’s 1971 Let’s Scare Jessica to Death when observing Irina’s vintage nightgown and her emergence from the water, in which she resembled “The Girl” vampire character of the mind-bending classic. One can even see influences of filmmakers like Jess Franco and his unique aesthetic sprinkled into the film.
Alexander’s world is both animalistic and artistic at once. If you’re familiar with his work, you know this third installment is not for those looking for a quick payoff. He is confident in this universe he’s created and it shows with repeated themes of loneliness and alienation. Here, the characters and their immortality distorts time and Blood Dynasty works to convey this with the Irina and her solitary saga.
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