I had an absolute blast with Canadian horror comedy Here for Blood. Simply put, if you are a fan of the subgenre, place this one high on your need-to-see-ASAP list. Professional wrestler Tom O’Bannon (Shawn Roberts) reluctantly agrees to help out his overworked girlfriend Phoebe (Joelle Farrow) by substituting for her on a babysitting gig to watch 10-year-old Grace (Maya Misaljevic). The young girl’s parents, mother Barb (Tara Spencer-Nairn) and stepfather Gil (Michael Therriault), are a bit wary of leaving Tom in charge, but go ahead for their night on the town anyway. Soon after they leave, two home invaders come after Grace, and Tom proves quite a formidable foe against the baddies. Things get crazier and zanier as the night progresses, and it would be a shame to spoil why, so suffice it to say that the two villains are not working alone, and they have Grace targeted for a nefarious reason. Director Daniel Turres, working from a fast-paced, crackerjack screenplay by James Roberts, has crafted a gloriously gory, laugh-packed film that treats its characters with affection and its viewers with throwback diabolical delights galore. Roberts is outstanding as the lead, and the supporting cast members are all terrific. Here for Blood is a strong candidate for my Top 10 horror films of this year.
Smoking Causes Coughing
★★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Directed by Quentin Dupiex
Part riff on tokusatsu team-ups, part offbeat horror anthology, and all absurdist humor, French feature Smoking Causes Coughing — the latest from writer/director Quentin Dupiex (Rubber, Incredible But True) — may arguably be his most accessible film so far. That is, if a group of infighting superheroes (Oulaya Amamra, Vincent Lacoste, Gilles Lellouche, Jean-Pascal Zadi, and Anais Demoustier), whose powers are derived from cancer-causing substances found in cigarettes, on a lakeside retreat who are led by a lusty rat (voiced by Alain Chabat) — a rodent, not a metaphor — spinning campfire tales about such things as a man ground to almost all liquid in heavy machinery who can still talk and a woman driven mad by a thinking helmet crafted in the 1930s when they should be trying to save the world sounds remotely accessible to you. If you’re in the mood for out-there comedy complete with old-school style rubber suit kaiju and plenty of gore gags — and who would not be?!? — Smoking Causes Coughing is well worth a watch.
Magnet Releasing will release Smoking Causes Coughing in theaters and on demand March 31, 2023.
Reviews by Joseph Perry
Here for Blood and Smoking Causes Coughing screened as part of FrightFest Glasgow, which took place from March 9–11, 2023.