CULT FACTION

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Blood Child (2018)

Blood Child, the directorial debut of Jennifer Phillips, was released in the US on the 11th of September. Overall I quite liked this film. The premise sees prospective mother Ashley suffer a miscarriage while in Singapore, whereupon she makes a pseudo Faustian bargain to raise a ghost child to replace her lost baby.

Naturally, as all Faustian bargains are want to do things go wrong and the evil is unleashed on Ash and her family. From my understanding this film had very little budget which is a testament to the skill of the Director and those involved that they could make such an engaging and interesting film with little resources.

The performances, on the whole, were quite good. To me, the standout character was Naomi, Ashley’s loud and effervescent best friend. Ashley herself was also played well, with the actress capturing well the trauma and emotions felt following a miscarriage. The ghost child actress was also good, as I felt genuinely creeped out and uneasy when seeing her.

For the most part the ghost girl is kept shrouded by darkness or only briefly seen. These shots I feel are most effective in bringing the scare factor as opposed to shots of her in normal lighting where she just looks like a sickly child. The film is a slow burn, with elements of the supernatural and clues to the mystery being drip fed to us piecemeal as opposed to a huge reveal. This makes the film more engaging as you don’t know when the next reveal could come.

The chemistry between the actors is also a highlight, with the Naomi and Ashley interplay being natural and I could actually believe that they had been friends for years with how they interacted. The film balances horror and character driven scenes well, with a relationship between the viewer and the character being built up allowing for us to actually care about what happens to them. I really did enjoy this film, but my one major problem with this film is the ending.

The ending sees the ghost child growing in power and attacking Ashley. Before it kills her however, we cut to Ashley being observed in a mental hospital apparently suffering from delusions and paranoia. Her maid, Siti watches from outside the door holding the hand of a girl bearing resemblance to the ghost child. Now I may have just misread the scene and not understood it but this scene clouds and obscures the events of the film, as I am not sure what actually happened and what was simply Ashley’s delusions. There also was no real resolution to any other character besides Ashley, leaving the film feeling hollow in retrospect.

VERDICT: The ending was my biggest issue, and I felt quite let down that it ended the way it did. This does not wash away the merits of the film however and I would give this film a 7.5/10 for being an engaging, thrilling directorial from a director who shows great promise and aptitude.

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