Low-budget horror filmmakers Rob Grant (director/co-writer) and Mike Kovacs (co-writer) turn the camera on themselves and blur the line between reality in fiction in their latest effort, Fake Blood. When Grant and Kovacs receive a video nitpicking one of the more gruesome scenes in their previous film Mon Ami, they find themselves considering the connection between real-life violence and fantasy violence, and their responsibility as artists. Their plan to make a documentary film on the subject leads them to “John,” an underworld figure they interview about doing violence in real-life, and who becomes a source of fascination for the two. When the filmmakers start looking into John’s past, they soon find themselves in over their heads as they realize he might be even more dangerous than he seems.
I’m not familiar with Grant and Kovacs’ previous work, so I don’t know how Fake Blood fits in that context. Taken on its own, it seems somewhat experimental, flipping back and forth between the characters’ research into John’s past, re-enactments of his stories, and the musings of various supporting characters on the film’s themes. The filmmakers seem more interested in backstory than incident; they build up suspense and then never resolve it; the story’s climactic event occurs entirely off-screen, leading to an abrupt and ultimately unsatisfying ending.
I’m not entirely certain about this, but I’d like to think the filmmakers were aiming for a more “realistic” cinematic experience than the average mockumentary or “found-footage” film provides. Real-life experiences rarely organize themselves into neat arcs with three-act structures. Yet narrative conventions endure because we don’t expect fiction to follow the same rules as reality, and the film’s lack of structure and tendency to meander often makes it frustrating or simply uninteresting to watch.
On the other hand, maybe I’m giving Grant and Kovacs too much credit; maybe they actually were going for something a little more exciting in the vein of Blair Witch but ultimately didn’t understand how to structure the story to achieve that. I don’t know. What I can say is that while I respect the filmmakers for trying something like this, the end result is far too flawed to justify a recommendation.
Saturday, November 25, 4:30 PM, The Royal Cinema
Full Blood in the Snow ticket information can be found at the festival’s website.