Gory throwback horror that feels like a delicious, campy mix of Cabin in the Woods and Last House on the Left was certainly not what I expected when I sat down to watch Here for Blood. This splatterfest is the directorial debut of Daniel Turres and screenwriter James Roberts. The film plays like a home invasion on steroids, utterly hilarious in its depiction of ultra-bro wrestler Tom O’Bannon (Shawn Roberts) and his unexpected babysitting night from hell. Strictly horror/comedy fans need apply for this darkly-charged riot—Here for Blood is an ultraviolent good time that left me craving more!
Phoebe (Joelle Farrow) has been balancing three jobs and college for so long now that it is beginning to affect her ability to function as a normal human. With a major class exam right around the corner, Phoebe nevertheless agrees to babysit ten-year-old Grace (Maya Misaljevic) at a family home in the countryside. At the suggestion of her close school friends Mike (Kelly Penner) and Chris (Samantha Helt), Phoebe insists that her testosterone-fueled boyfriend Tom fill in for her. Despite insisting “guys don’t babysit,” Tom eventually agrees to go in her stead, with the plan that Phoebe will swing by later that night.
Grace’s parents are surprisingly cool about the whole switcheroo—mother Barb (Tara Spencer-Nairn) and stepfather Gil (Michael Therriault) seem normal enough. They just want a nice night out on the town. They leave Tom with ample pizza money, and remind him that Grace should be given a cup of tea before bed. Barb and Gil vow to be back around midnight. Tom instantly warms to the young girl, who is surprisingly very low maintenance and malleable. Grace seems more into her gaming than anything else. Not long after ordering pizza, the unthinkable happens: an apparent cult of masked vigilantes infiltrates the home.
Hothead Tom will definitely not be going quietly. From this point, Here for Blood escalates into bloody madness. We are treated to everything from sizzling flesh on a stovetop burner, brutal stabbings, decapitations, and more! This will not be a movie for the faint of heart, yet the fact that it contains so much dark comedy makes it more accessible than it would first appear. A bond forms between Tom and Grace, as he is forced to become her sworn protector. For a movie that gradually gets wilder as it progresses, Here for Blood saves the best for last by delivering big on an epic finale with serious stakes.
Scene-stealer “the head,” which appears deeper into the movie, adds a sort of Evil Dead vibe to the latter half of the movie. Every time it screamed “feed me,” I couldn’t help but giggle at the ridiculousness. Another scene feels to be a direct homage to 80s classic Pet Sematary. Here for Blood knows exactly what type of movie it is, and is all the better for sticking with an assured tone throughout its runtime. Daniel Turres and James Roberts share an obvious love for genre filmmaking that seeps into every hyper-gory, blood-splattered frame.
Here for Blood screened at 2023’s FrightFest Glasgow.