★★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
A woman follows her conscience after a murder and winds up making her life an absolute hell in this intelligent, beautifully acted neo-noir film.
Directed by Matthew Pope
If you are a fan of noir films, rush to watch Blood on Her Name and expect one of the best movies in that genre in recent memory — and indeed, one of the finest films so far of this young year. Director Matthew Pope’s taut backwoods thriller involves viewers in the middle of a bloody, messy mystery from the get-go and never lets up.
Bethany Anne Lind (Doctor Sleep; Stranger Things; Doom Patrol) gives a superb performance that is both gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. She stars as Leigh Tiller, a woman running her husband’s auto body shop while he is in jail. Her teenage son Ryan (Jared Ivers) is on probation for an act of violence, and matters get worse from the beginning of the film as Leigh, holding a wrench, stands over the bloodied corpse of a man in the shop’s garage.
Leigh’s decision to bring the man’s body to his family’s home so that his widow (Elisabeth Röhm of Wish Upon and Beauty and the Beast TV series) and son have some form of closure is a misguided step that is a huge part of her continually downward spiral. Leigh’s estranged father (veteran character actor Will Patton of Halloween  and Swamp Thing TV series), who happens to be the town sheriff, reinserts himself back into the lives of her and her son, which doesn’t help matters, either. Jimmy Gonzales (Happy Death Day and Happy Death Day 2 U) also features as Rey, Leigh’s coworker at the garage.
Pope, who cowrote the screenplay with Don M. Thompson, helms his debut feature masterfully. The smart script provides jaw-dropping revelations and unexpected surprises. The dialogue is believable, and the cast members give gripping performances. Leigh’s guilt, stress, fear, and anger are palpable thanks to Lind’s amazing turn, and Patton is remarkable as the father who harbors secrets of his own.
Blood on Her Name is truly a film that viewers should go into knowing as little as possible, so I am keeping this review brief. I highly recommend this chilling slice of noir.
Blood on Her Name, from Vertical Entertainment, opens in select cinemas and on VOD on February 28th.