What is a father to do when his beloved son is becoming a vampire? A father has to choose the lesser evil of betraying or allowing his son to kill. Writer-director Tommy Stovall gives us a complex vampire film that delves more deeply into its characters than most modern horror pieces.
Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10.
The year 2011 saw the release of a pleasant New-Age-ish comedy, ‘Sedona’, directed and with a screenplay by Tommy Stovall. The film had a breezy, New Age style and was shot in and around beautiful Sedona, Arizona. The writing had some nice character-based comedy. I had not heard his name again for more than six years. But Stovall was hardly someone I expected to come back with a vampire film. His new film, ‘Aaron’s Blood’, trades the light New Age feel for a more sombre world with supernatural creatures. But this film does not have the atmosphere a George Romero or a John Carpenter would give it. ‘Aaron’s Blood’ is about human values and a father’s responsibility to his son. Where does his responsibility lie when he knows his son will cause evil?
Our central character is Aaron (played by James Martinez) who as a phlebotomist draws blood for medical tests. That means that he has some technical knowledge about drawing blood and that knowledge will be useful later. He has had a big share of bad luck. His wife died a year earlier in a traffic accident leaving Aaron with irrational feelings of guilt. Aaron lives with his son, Tate. He is played by Trevor Stovall and is the son of director Tommy, but he turns out to be a good choice to play Tate. Trevor seems very natural in the part, with a sort of half hang-dog look of someone who has been bullied it is what the part needs and most films would not have gotten that right.
Young Tate is an easy mark for school bullies. Until recently, Tate has been a well-behaved, serious student but now he is fighting back against a bully. This is particularly dangerous to Tate himself because he is a haemophiliac and fighting puts Tate near death in the hospital to get a blood transfusion. Tate not only unexpectedly recovers but quickly returns to his old strength and then surpasses it. But he also cannot eat anything but blood. Aaron slowly realises his son may be becoming a vampire and tries to find how his son might have contracted this malady. Must he betray his son to prevent killings? The same dilemma is faced by a character in ‘Let The Right One In’, but here it is the focus of ‘Aaron’s Blood’.
By today’s standards, the horror is kept light, at least lighter than most horror films would be. Much of the film is about issues that I have not seen covered before in any depth in vampire films. This is a film about the father of a boy twelve years-old and who will never get older. The father has to decide if he should side with his son or with the wider world that a vampire would likely victimise.
There is one technical problem. In one scene, we see blood flowing but the film stock shows the blood as being black. At this point, the colour of the blood could have plot implications. Stovall also gives the viewer multiple false starts. One would have been acceptable, I suppose, but more than one seems excessive.
I would not call ‘Aaron’s Blood’ a creepy classic, but it is a fairly intelligent low-budget vampire film. I rate it a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.
Mark R. Leeper
© Mark R. Leeper 2017