Here For Blood


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Here For Blood
"The focus really seems to be on ensuring that the audience has a good time, whilst the cast and crew are clearly doing so themselves." | Photo: courtesy of Frightfest

It’s a familiar problem: students need to make a bit of money in order to get by, but they also need to find the time to actually do their studying. Phoebe (Joelle Farrow) is dismayed when she realises that she has a babysitting job on the night before her most important exam. She doesn’t want to upset the client and risk her reputation, but she really has to get some time alone with her books. Fortunately, she has a boyfriend, pro-wrestler Tom (Shawn Roberts), who can be persuaded to step in. What could possibly go wrong?

Not, it has to be said, what many viewers will be expecting. A lot has changed since the days of Three Men And A Baby and Kindergarten Cop. Most people now comprehend that men are capable of taking on childcare roles, even if they’re muscular and loud in other contexts. Though a little nervous as any inexperienced person might be in the circumstances, Tom is polite and sensible and makes a good impression on parents Barb (Tara Spencer-Nairn) and Gill (Michael Therriault). Young Grace (Maya Misaljevic) doesn’t much care who’s looking after her as long as she gets pizza and no-one comes between her and her console. But viewers who have been treated to a gory prologue, in which a masked killer kills two young women in their home, will already expect that this particular evening of babysitting is not going to be straightforward. Just how bizarre it gets may still provide some surprises.

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Babysitters are, of course, traditional horror movie prey. Ever since Carol Kane first picked up that receiver in When A Stranger Calls, audiences have had certain expectations, so there’s obvious comedy to be found in a sinister stalker discovering a wrestler where he expected a frightened young woman – but that schtick isn’t really sufficient to sustain a feature film, so it’s fortunate that Here For Blood doesn’t rely on it. Neither does it buy into the idea that women or less muscular men are helpless, with Tom keen to get it through to those around him that there are things they can do to defend themselves. With more than one villain at large, he is by no means assured of victory – especially when it emerges that there’s more than just a bit of serial killing going on, and that, in fact, the fate of the whole world may be at stake.

The writing here isn’t always up to scratch, but the film has plenty of ambition, and Roberts has an amiable quality which suits his character well, even as he doles out some serious beatings (the fights having been styled, of course, to suit his wrestling moves). The script doesn’t demand too much of him in terms of acting, but he’s more than a match for what he’s given. There’s a bit of wrestling-style trash talk which will please fans of the sport, whilst some of the action has a distinctly cartoonish quality. Muscle and training aside, Tom has an advantage due to the fact that the bad guys wear masks which they can’t always see out of very well and tight PVC trousers which, whilst some viewers will no doubt find them aesthetically appealing, somewhat limit movement.

The twists in the latter part of the film, as whole new areas of horror (and comedy) are introduced, are bound to entertain viewers, especially in a Frightfest crowd like the one at the 2023 Glasgow Film Festival. Earlier elements which might have seemed like ill-considered clichés turn out to have a narrative purpose. The character dynamics are well managed and the focus really seems to be on ensuring that the audience has a good time, whilst the cast and crew are clearly doing so themselves. This isn’t high art and there are places where it could really do with some tightening up, but it’s an endearing slice of high-spirited horror which makes the most of its playful premise.

Reviewed on: 11 Mar 2023
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Here For Blood packshot
When his girlfriend is swamped with college exams, a rowdy pro-wrestler struggling to make ends meet agrees to fill in as a last-minute replacement for her well-paying babysitting job. Tom arrives at an isolated family home where he meets the precocious 10-year-old Grace. But what starts off as a quiet night of pizza and video games quickly spirals into bloody, violent, demonic chaos.

Director: Daniel Turres

Writer: James Roberts

Starring: Shawn Roberts, Joelle Farrow, Dee Snider

Year: 2022

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Canada

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