Blood Hunters (2016) [FrightFest 2016]

BloodHuntersAfter an overdose, a woman wakes up in what looks to be an abandoned hospital, pregnant.  As she looks for help, she stumbles on a quarantined man, a woman, a nurse, and a priest; together they work to find a way out before roaming beasts kill them all. Written by Corey Brown and directed by Tricia Lee build their characters as flawed human beings who made mistakes, took bad decisions, and are living with regret.  These characters are put in a crazy situation where they have to fight for their lives, make the right decisions, and help others which may help with their redemption.

Brown and Lee build a film that works very well on those fronts.  They create characters that the viewer can care about or loath at times, but still want to see what happens to them.  The final product is effective on the human side of things.  In the monster side of things, they create beasts that are fairly humanoid and not as scary as hoped for once they are fully revealed.  The cast in Blood Hunters does well.  In the part of the pregnant woman Ellie, Lara Gilchrist shows an empathetic character who wants to survive to go back to her son.  Her part is the meatiest being at the center of a lot of scenes and the main plot.  She supports this with talent and her character shows the right emotions for her arc.

Playing opposite her for most of the film is Benjamin Arthur as Henry, a conflicted man who through his arc finds some form of inner peace about himself and his past.  The actor shows talent as well and concern for the other survivors, coming off stronger than initially shown.  Showing the best range and most subtlety is the always great Julian Richings as Father Stewart.  The man does creepy, complex characters like no other.  In the only other human parts not in flashbacks, Tory Higginson (as Mary Dobbs) and Mark Taylor (as George) also do well.

Forcing these characters into cooperation are the monsters or beasts coming to turn them into lunch.  Their design reminds this reviewer of other beasties such as the ones in The Descent and in End of the Line.  The beasties here work better in semi-lit scenes.  In full light, the scare factor drops immensely.  The effects for them are good, but the design could have been scarier.  They work best in the dark, which is a shame as they have lots of potential, benefitting from the work of stunt/monster performers that know how to move and create great visuals with their bodies.

Blood Hunters has good performances, good tension, the impending arrival of the beasts adds to this tension in the story.  Their first flash appearance is expected but still surprising, unfortunately they are not as menacing or scary as hoped.  The way the film deals with regret and redemption putting the beasts in the background of the story and makes the viewers care about the characters and what happens to them.  The film is good and it has an ending that will pull at your heartstrings.