To say that watching Blood Machines, which recently played at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, was an interesting experience would be a vast understatement. I did not know anything about this project before my viewing, so I had no idea what to expect. To summarize my feelings after it was over: Holy fuck. What a trip…
...Written/directed by Raphael Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard, Blood Machines follows a pair of space hunters, Vascan (Anders Heinrichsen) and Lago (Christian Erickson), as they are tracking down a machine that is trying to free itself. After the spaceship is taken down, the ghost of a young woman pulls itself out of the machine. In an attempt to understand what has just happened, they chase the woman through space.
I’m not going to tell you that I completely understood everything that was happening in Blood Machines. I didn’t. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, because no matter what was going on, the film kept my interest. Even though I found myself saying, “what the hell is going on here”, I was still absorbed with what was going on and I was very interested to see what happened next. Those that need to have all the answers may find the experience a bit frustrating, but I didn’t find much explanation necessary.
I can’t say enough about the visual effects and the look of Blood Machines. From the opening moments, it’s an absolute joy to take in. I really enjoyed the gritty feel of the picture and the production design is great from top to bottom. I was absolutely blown away with how this film ended up looking. The imagery, although strange, is beautiful. The spirit of the ‘80s inspired the filmmakers and they most definitely nailed it.
Speaking of that, the music by Carpenter Brut feels like it was pulled right out of the ‘80s. The synth hits fantastically and had me feeling as if I actually were watching an ‘80s film, to the delight of my ears. The score pairs well with what’s happening on the screen. It’s a beautiful marriage to witness.
Another impressive aspect of the film is the way that the machines move and sound. I have no prior knowledge on the production of this project, but I can still sense that a lot of thought went into how the machines were designed and how they would actually work. Even though you can’t see it, you still get the sense of moving parts and changing gears. This is where the sound design proves to be very effective, as well. When there’s movement, there’s clanging and banging and it’s believable that these noises are coming from the machines. The design of the sounds gave the huge machines weight and accentuated their presence.
A lot of hard work went into every aspect of Blood Machines and it shows in every single moment.
The film is split up into three chapters, coming in at just under an hour. I don’t know the reason for splitting it into three parts, but it doesn’t seem necessary. It would have been just as effective, if not more so, with all three parts put together as one long feature.
Blood Machines is just simply very cool. It’s easily one of the most interesting things I’ve ever watched. There were a few moments where I wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing or what was going on, but that never ruined my enjoyment of the film. Those looking for explanations will be disappointed, but if you just sit back and take it in, you’ll be pleased by everything you see. I definitely recommend checking out this trippy experience.
Blood Machines has been acquired by Shudder and will release through the service at a later date.
By Billy Smith