Review: Shudder’s Blood Relatives make for an endearing vampire drama

For a vampire movie, Shudder’s blood relatives It goes a bit light on bloodsucking. Although the main characters sometimes kill people and drink their blood, they are not so scary, and blood relatives Not really a horror movie. It’s more of a cute family drama with a little bit of vampire in it. It’s less comical than something like What do we do in the shadows?but it’s also full of subtle humor, making it a low-key, likable movie that sometimes plays like an extended TV pilot.

Actor Noah Segan made his writing and directing debut with blood relatives He also stars as Francis, a lonely vampire who traverses the back roads of the United States in his cool old car and generally aims to keep a low profile. He goes out of his way to kill only people who deserve it – or who make him angry – and avoid causing too much trouble. This stable existence is thrown into disarray by the arrival of 15-year-old Jane (Victoria Morells), who tracks down Francis at a cheap motel in Texas and tells him she is his daughter. Her mother, who had a one-night stand with Francis and never told him about Jane, has recently died, and she has no other family to turn to.

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Noah Seguin in Blood Relatives

Francis is skeptical at first, but it doesn’t take long for Jane to prove that she really is his daughter and that she has inherited some of his vampiric abilities. She is somewhat similar to Blade and other half-vampires in that she is able to go out during the day and appears to age normally, but she also has fangs and a taste for human blood. Like any child who has never known a biological father, Jane just wants to understand more about where she came from and who her father really is. At first, Francis wanted nothing to do with her, insisting on driving her to Nebraska to live with a distant cousin she had never met. Of course, it eventually comes around and the couple begins to develop a true family bond.

They also gain a number of bodies, though it’s somewhat small for a vampire story. It’s endearing to watch Francis teach Jane the basics of being a vampire, and the killing is mostly played out for laughs. The only heavy moment in blood relatives It comes when Jane learns about the experience of the Jew Francis during the Holocaust, but Seguin acknowledges the seriousness and then moves on. Francis’ penchant for pronouncing Yiddish words like “chlab” and “shmook” is mainly portrayed as a personal whim, something strange and unfamiliar to Texans in blood relatives An actual vampire.

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Victoria Morells in Blood Relatives

blood relatives It’s best as a quiet road movie, in which Francis and Jane travel from Texas to Nebraska and then west as they search for a new place to call home. There are no real external threats to their existence, and as far as Francis is aware, they are the only vampires. All blood relativesThe conflict is between Frances and Jane, and much of it would be the same if they were just normal humans trying to establish a relationship after meeting for the first time. Francis teaches Jane how to lead with the same dedication and exasperation when he teaches her how to drain someone’s blood.

Segan, a veteran actor who has appeared in several Rian Johnson movies, has a lovable presence as Francis, and he and Morwells share an engaging chemistry, instantly forging a real father-daughter bond. Moroles, who was delightfully in the underrated Hulu comedy plan b, gives Jane a mixture of bravado and vulnerability, which makes her smart and mature without losing her teenage impulse. There aren’t a lot of supporting actors, though Doug Benson and Josh Rubin put together amusing appearances in one scene.

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Segan was clearly operating on a low budget blood relativesAnd, despite the nation-spanning story, it often seems like the characters traverse the same number of roads over and over again. Apart from a few drops of blood, there are no traces of blood, and the vampire transformation involves nothing but slightly sharpened teeth. The small production matches the small story, though, and blood relatives Better off without trying to build an all-encompassing vampire mythology.

With only 15 minutes or so left in the runtime, blood relatives He starts concocting new potential plots, and Segan doesn’t give them enough time to play. The ending feels long and abrupt, though it leaves plenty of material for a potential sequel or follow-up TV series. Frances and Jane are lovely to spend time with, even when they’re not doing anything particularly spooky, and blood relatives It gives viewers plenty of reasons to want to see more of her.

Blood Relatives premieres Tuesday, November 22, on Shudder.

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