Aaron’s Blood: Disturbing father and son vampire drama is well worth your time
The idea of dragging vampirism into the sacred confines of the domestic world isn’t a new one. ’70s exploitation fave Grave of the Vampire told the tale of a boy born of vampire rape who is now half ghoul and searching for his bloodsucking birth father, a similar riff to that of Marvel Comics’ Blade character. Paul Solet’s 2009 chiller Grace also played with the idea of a child born with hankering for mother’s blood, not mother’s milk. And now, we can add writer/director Tommy Stovall’s horror drama Aaron’s Blood to this list. It’s the story of a regular Joe father coming to terms with the fact that his only child is morphing into an undead wraith. And although on the surface the film may seem like a run of the mill indie shrug, Aaron’s Blood is anything but. With its stylish framing, elegantly constructed screenplay and solid performances, Stovall’s modest drama is, despite a few dodgy special FX set pieces and clunky melodramatic passages, one of the most interesting and intelligent low budget films we’ve seen in some time.
The film stars James Martinez as Aaron, a struggling single dad recovering from the loss of his wife, who died months earlier in car accident. His only son, 13 year old Tate, is a hemophiliac and is increasingly withdrawn and bullied by the typical goons who delight in tormenting those who they deem weaker than themselves. Aaron tries his best to reach the boy, trying to teach him to stand up for himself whole also protecting him from endless hospital visits. But when a gym room scuffle sends Tate to the hospital with a nosebleed, he receives a transfusion and soon begins to exhibit strange behaviors. His basketball game improves. His confidence level goes up. He pushes back against his aggressors. And his eyes and skin turn red, he vomits up his food and discovers he has a hankering for human blood. As Aaron tries to make sense of the impossible, he’s tracked by a local vampire killer who, after a failed attempt to murder the parasitic Tate, tries to guide Aaron to make the right choice and hack off his newly undead boy’s head with an axe.
There’s plenty of things to admire about Aaron’s Blood, chief among them Martinez’s turn as Aaron, a man already on the edge and then pushed far over that edge, while still trying to hold on to the last thing in his life that gives him meaning and purpose. Stovall steers the narrative into the psychological, giving Aaron an endless spate of panic dreams that bleed into his reality, blurring the lines between what’s actually happening and what’s part of the father’s potential psychosis. This is a classy piece of work through and through, armed with a black sense of humor and unexpected hard-boiled dialogue and it’s gently pushed forward by an elegant score by Jakub Gawlina, one that captures the terror of being a single parent and the deeper terror of coming to terms with the fact that your child is no longer in your control.
Aaron’s Blood opened last week for a limited theatrical release on June 2nd and it’s now On Demand, Digital HD and DVD. It’s a different kind of vampire film that’s well worth your time.
For more on the film visit the Gravitas Ventures website.