Bloodwork is a horror movie, and, as expected, it’s not too long before things start to go horribly wrong. Unfortunately, it’s not the way a good horror movie should.
Bloodwork is the story of two students, Greg and Rob, who are looking to make some easy cash. Greg finds a job posting for test subjects at a pharmaceutical company, and is eager to sign up once he hears how much money they are offering. Rob, the more reserved of the two, isn’t so sure this is such a great idea, but Greg pressures him into doing it anyway. Once the tests begin, they soon discover that things are not what they seem. Control begins to slip away from the organisation running the tests, and it’s not long before they find themselves in a situation beyond their imagining.
Bloodwork has potential, but ultimately fails to deliver.
The story behind Bloodwork is pretty simple, as is the case with most horror stories. Certain events occur in the movie that just seem completely out of place. However, despite Bloodwork’s simplistic and sometimes questionable plot, it does seem to touch on some very interesting ideas. I definitely think that if more effort had been put into exploring these concepts that Bloodwork would have taken a much darker path, and as a result could have been far more effective as a horror movie. But it chooses instead to rely on cliched and predictable horror movie devices, making it feel very generic.
Bloodwork stars mostly unknown actors, except for Tricia Helfer who’s known as the knock-out Number Six from Battlestar Galactica. Regardless of the relatively unknown status of most of the cast, the performance of each actor is believable; at no point in the movie did I cringe or question their performances. Leading on from that, none of the performances in this movie were exceptional, but this is probably because the characters themselves lack any kind of depth. If the characters were written in greater detail, the actors may have had more to work with.
The quality of the effects work varied, but were convincing enough that you never found yourself pulled out of the experience. As with most horror movies, there’s moments of quite extreme violence which allow the effects artists to show off their skills, and the movie did actually succeed in making me squirm a little.
Ultimately, many of the issues highlighted above all add to Bloodwork’s one major problem: it fails to properly build tension and fear. I will quite openly admit that when I watch a horror movie that works, such as the original Exorcist, I end up feeling terrified! That’s the whole point of an effective horror movie. As I pointed out earlier, Bloodwork relies a lot on previous horror film devices, which many of us would’ve seen before, and this removes a lot of the tension and fear.
Bloodwork is a horror movie that attempts (perhaps too much) to appeal to fans of the genre.
The Bottom Line:
Bloodwork starts off relatively engaging and seems to hint at some very dark ideas, but it soon changes direction and starts to head into familiar horror territory. This results in a sometimes tense, but far from scary, horror movie.
About the writer
Rowan Govender, a writer and artist who is more commonly known by his pen name Rowango, graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal with an Honors degree in Media in 2006. He relocated to Cape Town in 2007 to pursue his interest in writing and film. He is currently employed part time in the Technical Writing industry, while he pursues personal creative projects.