TIFF Review: Kicking Blood

Anna ready to bite?

Vampire myths and legends are part of folklore in almost all corners of the world. In Europe, they often reflected the prejudices and fears of the society in which they belonged. However, it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that the pale, gaunt, romanticised figure of aristocracy appeared. Today, vampires are often depicted as ultra-sexual creatures. Corrupt visions of beauty. Kicking Blood takes a refreshingly different viewpoint to vampirism.

Anna (Alanna Bale) is suffering from a severe bout of existential ennui. Eternal life might be attractive to some, but she’s sick of it. Nauseated by all the killing. Her only human friend (Rosemary Dunsmore) is seriously ill and she’s fed up of watching people die. While she hunts to survive, other vampires see it as sport. A chance encounter with a suicidal alcoholic (Luke Bilyk) makes here reassess the attractiveness of immortality.

Kicking Blood is an unusual and intelligent spin on the vampire mythos. Director Blaine Thurier approaches the subject of addiction from an unusual angle. Anna chooses her victims carefully but is finding it increasingly difficult to justify the bloodshed. It’s like a drug. Bale is impressive, both in terms of her on-screen charisma and innate vulnerability. Nicely shot, Kicking Blood does a great job or balancing tone with entertainment to create a thoughtful and engrossing treatise on craving and dependency.

Kicking Blood screens at Toronto International Film Festival.

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