★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Seth Breedlove
The latest crytpozoology documentary from the terrific Small Town monsters production company is another solid effort, this one focusing on the history and social issues surrounding the Jersey Devil.
As I mentioned in my review of the Small Town Monsters production company’s previous offering American Werewolves, director Seth Breedlove and his crew produce consistently terrific documentaries on cryptozoology, UFOs, and other high-strangeness subjects, and their latest feature Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse (2022) continues that impressive pattern.
Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil, with a script from Jason Utes, tracks the history of the titular beast, described basically as a flying biped with cloven hooves that supposedly haunts the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, from its legendary birth as the 13th child of Jane “Mother” Leeds in 1735 through to its 20th century influence on popular culture — including its role in the 1980s satanic panic years and the naming of the state’s NHL team — to today. Whereas many Small Town Monsters documentaries focus on first-person accounts and interviews with researchers, with the question of the existence of the subject left open-ended, this installment leans more toward discussion of the folklore and social implications behind its subject, with a slightly more skeptical bent than usual. Folklore experts provide insightful input on not only the history of the Jersey Devil, but on the historical events surrounding it.
Interspersed with the talking-heads interview segments are set pieces that lean toward dramatic reenactments but feel more like short narrative films, especially the final of the bunch, which ramps up the diabolical imagery in its presentation of what may have happened on the night that Mother Leeds allegedly gave birth to the the Jersey Devil. The CGI effects in these segments are solid, even punching above their weight in terms of budget.
Strongly recommended for cryptozoology, folklore, and weird-history buffs, Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse is another engaging documentary from Breedlove and the Small Town Monsters crew. If you are familiar with their work, you are already aware of the solid quality that you are in for. If you haven’t yet watched any of their features, this is a fine place to start.
Review by Joseph Perry
Small Town Monsters’ Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse, from 1091 Pictures is available on Cable VOD and Digital HD as of November 15, 2022.
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