“Blood Ransom” is a slow burn crime thriller that fearlessly takes on the whole vampire genre. As if oblivious to “Twilight,” this vampire love story is a noir-tinged offbeat adventure harking back to the ’70s. It’s got your basic adreniline-fuled plot, vampire gang vs. the one guy who might make a difference, plus a bunch of quirky twists. And much of what makes this work is a strong cast, starring Alexander Dreymon, as the lone wolf hero, in love with Anne Curtis, as the mysterious vampire vixen.
“Blood Ransom” begins with a soft vibe to it: an introduction to vampires followed by a voice-over like out of a noir film. We learn that these are vampires with options. They don’t need to fear daylight. They choose to come out at night. And they each are supposed to have access to their own special blade in order to kill humans with or, as the rules suggest, to kill themselves. There’s more but the characters will find out the finer details and they move along.
This is also a bit of a buddy movie as we see early on. The voice-over stuff at the beginning is coming from Daniel, a police detective (played by Darion Basco), rummaging through his deceased father’s biggest case when he was a detective. It’s a bunch of creepy stuff, strongly hinting at the supernatural, that ended up a cold case. With that in mind, enter Jeremiah (played by Alexander Dreymon) who is all swagger and good looks. He happens to be working at a less than reputable place in sharp contrast to his pal. Daniel warns Jeremiah that he should distance himself from the strip club he works at as a bouncer. And he should especially stop seeing that spooky girl Crystal (played by Anne Curtis) who works at the club.
Enter Crystal, our femme fatale. While we have vampires here who can spread their wings a bit, not so much for Crystal, who has some major restraints placed upon her, namely she’s become a favorite with the local vampire mob of West Covina. She is being leaned hard upon not to even think about leaving the gang. In Crystal’s mind, it’s all one big misunderstanding. She would like a do-over. But, as Roman, the gang’s leader (played by Caleb Hunt) makes clear, once you’ve crossed into the vampire world, there are consequences.
All this leads us to one of the most interesting characters, Bill, a special hitman just for vampires (played by Jamie Harris). He’s a dapper gent who is basically a no nonsense sort. If he’s been hired to kill someone, he does it. But when Crystal goes missing, and this ends up involving Jeremiah, well, it complicates things. Bill will still do whatever he needs to do but he’s also a thinker and is prone to listen carefully and consider details. For instance, just before he kills someone, he might stop and ponder the futility of life wasted upon dullards. In all matters concerning the lovely Crystal, Bill is made to measure his actions.
In fact, we get to see some intriguing cat and mouse scenes that are brought to a fun level of suspense by the intellectual Bill. There’s one scene where he’s made his way to the home of Daniel’s mother, Tita Paz (played by Suzette Ranillo) and he’s persuaded to stay for lunch. It’s one of many instances where some Filipino culture his mixed in to great results. Tita is so caught up with her work cooking sausages in her kitchen that she feels compelled to invite a total stranger to share some. It’s only when Bill exhibits discomfort bordering on disgust from being in such close proximity to crucifixes, that Tita begins to wonder about him.
Written and directed by Francis Dela Torre, “Blood Ransom” will prove to be a hit with you. It is a solid thriller full of quirk. “Blood Ransom” hits selected theaters in North America on Halloween. Be sure to visit the “Blood Ransom” website for theater locations and other features right here.