Amelia Moses’ Bleed with Me, one of her two feature films screening at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival, methodically builds its tension. Moses displays complete trust in the audience to do the necessary heavy-lifting needed to untangled the intricate web the film weaves.
Bleed with Me takes the standard stuck in an isolated cabin in the winter trope and flips it on its head. One knows something evil lurks nearby, however, the film forces you to second guess what form the terror will take. Much like anxiety-ridden Rowan (Lee Marshall), the paranoia builds as the lines between reality and hallucination increasingly blur.
Moses wisely distorts, both literally and metaphorically, Rowan’s perception of events slowly. A large portion of the first half of the film is used to establish the bond between Rowan and her co-worker of six-months Emily (Lauren Beatty). Spending a weekend away at Emily’s family cottage, the two friends, and Emily’s boyfriend Branden (Aris Tyros), hangout and indulge wine and weed. However, when Rowan wakes to find a cut on her arm, she starts to believe that her hazy nightmare involving someone taking her blood while she slept was not a dream at all.
As Rowan’s anxiety increases, and her physical health mysteriously worsens, a battle of wills forms between the two women. As Emily assumes the role of persistent and possessive caregiver, determined to keep her patient indoors, Rowan must figure out what is really going on.
A taut psychological horror, Bleed with Me uses its minimalist setting to evoke a chilling atmosphere. While Moses frequently blurs images to capture Rowan’s disorientated state, it is the performances that truly make the film pop. Lee Marshall and Lauren Beatty are equally wonderful in their respective roles. They not only keep the audience constantly questioning each character’s perspective, but they also manage to make a seemingly wholesome friendship more disturbing than the sight of dead rabbits mysteriously hanging in the woods. Bleed with Me is a brilliantly tense and unsettling film that will make you think twice about that cabin in the woods.