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'The Bleeding House' Movie Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 2.5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)

By

'The Bleeding House' movie poster
© Tribeca Films
Straight from the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival comes The Bleeding House, an entertaining chiller about a family on the brink that's about to be pushed over by a mysterious stranger.

The Plot

In an old house in the farm lands outside of a small town live the infamous Smith family: Marilyn (Betsy Aidem) and Matt (Richard Bekins) and children Gloria (Alexandra Chando), 16, and Quentin (Charlie Hewson), 18. They live a sheltered lifestlye, their social options curtailed by an unspoken secret from years ago that has alienated them from the townspeople. Rather than go through the hassle of moving and starting over, however, they stick it out, hoping that time will heal all wounds.

Then, one evening, a stranger comes calling. He's a genial Southern gentleman named Nick (Patrick Breen) who flashes old-timey charm and says that his car has broken down. In truth, he's about to break up the family's stagnant existence. He comes bearing secrets himself. He knows more about the Smiths than he lets on, but even he is surprised by what he finds in the bleeding house.

The End Result

Patrick Breen in 'The Bleeding House'.

Patrick Breen in 'The Bleeding House'.

© Tribeca Films
The Bleeding House is a bold, smart debut from writer-director Philip Gelatt that stands out from a horror landscape dominated by tiresome torture porn and paint-by-number attempts to shock that ironically prove dull and predictable. It's admirably understated -- utilizing limited music and matter-of-fact kills -- making it feel at times as much like an indie dysfunctional family drama as a horror flick.

The dialogue is sharp, even if Nick is a bit of a Foghorn Leghorn caricature, and the story keeps viewers on their toes with its quick pace, intriguing characters and plot twists that, while not unpredictable, still play out with juicy theatrics. With its limited, one-house setting and impassioned monologues (courtesy of Nick), it has the air of a play, though the cast is not quite Broadway caliber. They're effective enough, though, when given a strong script like The Bleeding House, which is hopefully a sign of things to come in Gerlatt's promising career.

The Skinny

  • Acting: C+ (A bit amateurish at times but ultimately effective.)
  • Direction: B- (Taut yet understated)
  • Script: B (Smartly doesn't go down the expected exploitation path.)
  • Gore/Effects: C+ (Fairly restrained gore-wise.)
  • Overall: B- (Smart, tense and engaging.)

The Bleeding House is directed by Philip Gelatt and is not rated by the MPAA. Release date: May 13, 2011 (on demand April 20).

Disclosure: The distributor provided free access to this movie for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 4 out of 5
Blackbird's Movie, Member polishedwoodandstone

'The Bleeding House' should really be entitled 'Blackbird' because the character--- Gloria, Alexandra Chandra--- is the alpha and the omega of this film. Everything is tied to her personality and to her intelligence. She is the reason that the family lives such a secluded and tension-filled existence. Even though the father and the brother know what happened in the past, it is only her mother who has a glimmer of the complex personality housed in her teenage daughter. By watching the mother, we begin to see that there is a genuine fear in her actions. Gloria is fascinating because at once we begin to realize that she doesn't respond to her own name, but only to the word 'Blackbird.' It is her eyes, the many references to a blackbird's eyes, and the actual blackbirds in the movie that begin to come together to form a glimpse into Gloria's mind. All in all, a movie that is more a psychological thriller than mere horror, 'The Bleeding House' is really mistitled.

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