Noob Reviews: Blood Vessel
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is Blood Vessel?
Set in 1945, Blood Vessel is a Shudder original horror film that sees a varied group of allied personnel (comprised of officers, a nurse, cooks and soldiers) stranded at sea after their ship is taken down by a Nazi assault. With morale dwindling, their life raft floating aimlessly and rations running short - it is nothing short of a twisted miracle when a Nazi warship mysteriously comes into view in the dead of night.
Unfortunately for the survivors, their luck soon begins to take a turn for the worse as they explore the abandoned ship, the more they investigate, the more they find traces the Nazis had not given it up easily. And stored deep in the very bowels of their salvation amongst stolen art and a horde of gold, are the coffins of two powerful vampires an elite Nazi occult unit had secured and been taking back to Germany. Little do they know though, a third vampire is already on the loose.
With a vampire in their midst looking to both feed and free their fellow bloodsuckers. Distrust amongst each other. And their only means of escaping the warship sabotaged beyond repair - can our reluctant explorers face off against the vampire threat and hold out until rescue arrives?
What type of genre is the film?
Blood Vessel is a horror film that fits snuggly into both the vampire and Nazi sub-genres.
When was Blood Vessel released?
Blood Vessel was released worldwide in October 2020.
Do you have a trailer to show us?
- The official trailer linked from Shudder’s YouTube channel -
Who are some of the actors and actresses that we might know?
For a full cast listing, please see the official IMDB page here.
What did you think of Blood Vessel?
Blood Vessel was a delightful surprise that not only lived up to its trailer but for the most part went above and beyond, delivering excellent entertainment value. One of the first things that struck me was that Blood Vessel is another Nazi horror film, and having loved Dead Snow, Frankenstein’s Army, Overlord and Outpost to name but I few - I was very excited to see what Blood Vessel had to offer.
When it comes to the story, Blood Vessel is rather unique and goes to a decent length to establish character arcs for each of the characters, no matter how long their screen time. To explain the background of how and why they have all ended up here. And to explain the workings of the Nazi occult team - whilst at the same time offering nothing drastically different or genre-changing, which really works in its favour.
From an acting point of view, all of the actors and actresses are character-driven, giving their all to their role believably and accurately making you both love and loathe them depending on events. When characters are killed off, you might even take a hit in the feels. There is even a nice balance across the film of the different languages used as there is a mix of Romanian, English and German. Still, no language is the dominant language for all purposes. For example, the discussions about the vampires and their intended use in the war are often carried out in the vampire’s Romanian mother tongue or German, which is what the Nazi notes are written in. The vampires only speak to one another in Romanian as anything else is beneath them. And the allies talk to one another in English. Everything has a place, and it works so well and gels together seamlessly.
One of the only downsides for myself about the film, which is arguably a plus for other people, is that when the first vampire is seen they are in a human form and still manage to ramp up the creep factor and bring the chills. However, as more vampires are woken up, they resemble more of a Morbius style vampire (from the Spiderman universe) or Strigoi, a Romanian humanoid with bat-like features. Although fans of vampires throughout horror cinema and literature may say, this is a more natural form for the vampires to take. I felt they looked a bit out of place and rather daft, with the elongated fingers, pointy ears and almost rubber-like complexion adding a somewhat comedy value to the film. In contrast, everything else drove home some serious horror vibes. Don’t get me wrong, the film is still enjoyable, but it took a bit of a downward turn for me when additional vampires came into play.
To wrap this up, I would just like to say that a massive plus for Blood Vessel which I touched on before is that it does not try too hard to be a genre-defining film; instead, it opts to take a consistent and well-plotted out course with a great sense of pacing. Reveals what you need to know as you need to know it. And just takes many well-known aspects of several horror subgenres and makes it it’s own. In my opinion, this makes it super refreshing and dare I say one of the films I have most enjoyed watching on Shudder to date.
What rating would you give Blood Vessel?
I would rate Blood Vessel as a 4.4 out of 5 bananas.
Overall Blood Vessel is a fantastic horror entry that really fits into both the Nazi and vampire horror sub-genres. With a fantastic story, energetic and engaging cast and spooktacular filming location it is definitely one I can highly recommend to horror fans as well worth a watch. Additionally, it would also make an excellent gateway film into the horror genre for people who have not seen a horror movie before - as it is not as graphic or extreme as many of the other titles.
Thank you very much for checking out the review. If you are interested in Blood Vessel and would like to check it out, you can find it on Blu-Ray, DVD, and select streaming platforms like Amazon’s Prime Video and Shudder
to form your own opinion.