Blood Covered Chocolate


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Blood Covered Chocolate
"Light plays with contrast but knows when to step back and simply let the camera rest on Klug’s face."

In choosing a title like this, a film lays its cards on the table. You’ve probably already decided whether or not you want to see it, before reading this review. Learning that it deals with vampires (aswangs, to be precise) is only likely to solidify that decision. If you do watch, though, you may be in for a bit of a surprise. This is low budget, rough stuff, but there’s a visual style to it which is quite arresting. Writer/director Monte Light clearly has ideas, and despite the sometime incoherence of the story, there is evidence of talent.

Massimo (Michael Klug) is a drug addict celebrating two years of sobriety with his girlfriend, Tien (Christine Nguyen), an alcoholic. After a spot of slow motion, soft focus black and white sex, they lie around in bed discussing vampire mythology, and she introduces him to the concept of the aswang. Like a lot of people, he’s creeped out by the notion of the upper body separating from the legs and flying off with its guts hanging out – but what about the shapeshifting?

Copy picture

All is not what it seems as Massimo finds himself faced with mundane problems (his racist stepfather using leverage from some past shady dealings they’ve had to try to blackmail him into leaving Tien) and supernatural ones (an encounter which leaves him with cravings for blood). Loathe to hurt anyone, he is told that if he doesn’t actively hunt then he’ll lose track of time, faces etc. – a trick which gives Light a lot of freedom to play around even before some of Massimo’s fundamental assumptions are called into question.

As the film becomes distorted at a narrative level, it also changes visually, with colour intruding into the black and white world. Light plays with contrast but knows when to step back and simply let the camera rest on Klug’s face. The dialogue doesn’t have a lot of finesse and some of the supporting performances are clunky, but Klug brings a certain soulfulness to his character, revealing a man in the grip of forces beyond his control, struggling to find a way back to the people and values which really matter to him.

In the end, this is a story less concerned with the supernatural than with addiction and mental illness, as well as the struggle involved in holding onto a relationship as somebody who suffers from them or somebody who loves that person. There’s a quiet heroism lurking in the background of a film superficially soaked in blood and violence. Sometimes monsters are a part of everyday life, and Blood Covered Chocolate pays its own kind of tribute to the people struggling to keep them at bay.

Reviewed on: 06 Apr 2023
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Blood Covered Chocolate packshot
When a recovering drug-addict named Massimo is bitten by an ancient, shapeshifting monster, he must fight to save his girlfriend Tien from the same bloody fate.

Director: Monte Light

Writer: Monte Light

Starring: Michael Klug, Christine Nguyen, Meghan Deanna Kingsley. Joe Altieri, Helene Udy, Debra Lamb, Mike Ferguson, Jamie Tran

Year: 2022

Runtime: 82 minutes

Country: US


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