Blood on Her Name Review
Blood on Her Name drops us right in the middle of the action from the very beginning. The film opens with a bloodied woman, Leigh, who has a very unfortunate problem on her hands. An unnamed man is lying dead in a pool of blood in her garage. In a moment of panic, Leigh decides to get rid of the body rather than to call the police. This will be known as mistake number one.
Mistake number two comes along when Leigh is about to dump the body in a lake, but can’t find the will to do it after listening to a voicemail by the man’s concerned son. Blood on Her Name is a tense thriller that is fuelled on by Leigh’s several mistakes, the plot moving towards its inevitably tragic ending. Here, actions have consequences and they’re usually bad ones.
Leigh - brilliantly played by Bethany Anne Lind - is an unpleasant protagonist in every way. Her panic is infuriating and the mistakes she makes are so glaringly obvious and easily avoidable. They are also painfully relatable. The alarm on her face is the same look we adopt when we realise we’ve done something incredibly stupid but probably never quite this stupid.
Leigh also self-medicates in between all the messing up she does, really pushing how obnoxious you can make your main character while still maintaining audience interest in her. Somehow, we still want Leigh to be able to correct all her mistakes and escape the situation to go on living with her son Ryan. He, who may or may not have something to do with the situation Leigh finds herself in.
Director Matthew Pope, who also co-writes with Don M. Thompson, keeps things moving at a nice pace and the film doesn’t overstay its welcome at a breezy 85 minutes. The dialogue is a little clumsy and filled with way too much exposition at times, but it’s easy to forgive when Pope nails the mood of the film. The narrative feels like a screw that Pope keeps turning tighter and tighter with the finale a tense affair between the key players of the film.
Trusty character actor Will Patton shows up as Leigh’s corrupt cop dad Richard. Patton balances Lind’s chaotic energy nicely and the chemistry between the two is great and feels lived in. Pope has also included some flashbacks to Leigh’s unhappy childhood, which feel like unnecessary padding to an otherwise streamlined story. The film succeeds on its simplicity; the narrative doesn’t need any accessorising when it’s this compelling on its own.
The film lags a little bit in the middle and it can’t quite retain the shock value of that opening, however, this is without a doubt a little gem of a film. It’s everything you want from a thriller; a contained narrative, fascinating characters, a brilliant beginning and a distressing ending. Even if the stuff in the middle doesn’t quite work, Blood on Her Name is a rough piece of cinema, possibly even a future cult classic.
Blood on Her Name will open in select US cinemas and VOD on February 28.