★★★ out of ★★★★★
Seann William Scott’s first leading role in a horror movie puts family first.
Directed by Henry Jacobson
It was 19 years ago. 19 years ago we were worrying about crashing back to the Stone Age because of the Y2K computer glitch, Florida had hanging chads, and Venus Williams won her first championship at Wimbledon. With all of that going on you’d be forgiven if you forgot about Seann William Scott’s horror movie debut in Final Destination (2000).
Possibly due to my buddy Eric’s visceral hatred for that franchise (which, for the record, I don’t share — that first one is an underrated classic), Mr. William Scott never starred in another horror movie… until now.
The Blumhouse production, Bloodline (2018), brings Seann William Scott back to our favorite genre and this time in the leading role. He plays Evan Cole; husband, high school social worker, and brand new father.
Oh, and violent serial killer.
That last one is unbeknownst to his wife, Lauren [Mariela Garriga; Nightmare Cinema (2018)], of course. The new parents are navigating the challenges of adding a newborn to the mix with the help of Evan’s mother, Marie [Dale Dickey; TV’s Unbelievable (2019)]. All while Evan attempts to balance familial obligations with his other… activities.
Seann William Scott opted to go with the introverted, unemotional brand of serial killer as opposed to the jovial, charming type (a la Ted Bundy) and he does a decent job. Based on pretty much every other character he’s ever played, he could have easily taken a more dynamic approach and made Evan a more interesting character — which you see a tiny glimpse of in one scene as he’s lulling a victim into a false sense of security — but what’s done is done and his undemonstrative take still works.
As for the two supporting actors, Mariela Garriga does a great job as the overwhelmed and increasingly suspicious new mother, but industry veteran Dale Dickey steals nearly every scene she’s in. Kudos to the casting director; a better pick for Evan’s mom could not have been made.
Bloodline is most definitely a “slow burn” that plays like an extended episode of Showtime’s classic serial killer series Dexter (2006 – 2013). The audience is rooting for the killer to get away with it while the threat of discovery lurks around every corner. An action movie this is not. However, between the writers and some clever editing, the filmmakers managed to sneak in a couple good narrative twists to keep you on your toes.
Effects-wise, from what I could tell, the special effects gang was fully on board with using purely practical effects to great… um… effect. Shockingly so, in some cases. One scene in particular comes to mind, but in an effort to avoid spoilers let me just say I’m pretty sure I’m now a board certified obstetrician.
This project was Jacobson’s debut as director of a feature-length genre film, but Bloodline is definitely not his first time behind the camera. As an experienced documentary filmmaker, Jacobson is no stranger to camera angles and the nuances of cinematography. He brought all of this experience to Bloodline making it a gorgeously shot film; down to the extra grainy flashback scenes of Evan’s childhood. That ain’t no artificial grainy texture added to a digital shot. The flashback scenes were actually shot on 16mm film. That’s the kind of attention to detail that should not go unrewarded.
Bloodline is an entertaining addition to the serial-killer-as-hero subgenre. Seann William Scott’s performance was a bit flat at times, but the story’s slow boil and his talented costars keep things interesting.
Especially for anyone else who misses Dexter.
Review by Robert Zilbauer.