A Taste of Blood (Sangre Vurdalak) Image

A Taste of Blood (Sangre Vurdalak)

By Matthew Roe | July 5, 2022

A Taste of Blood (original title: Sangre Vurdalak) is one of the more unique cinematic experiences I have ever consumed, just not for the reasons I was expecting when the opening credits started rolling. Writer/director Santiago Fernández Calvete has adapted the gothic novella, The Family of the Vourdalak by seminal Russian author Aleksey Tolstoy, into a modern-age exploration of dysfunctional families set against old-school folktale horror. But the stylistic choices made range from the innovative to the head-scratchingly odd.

“…Natalia’s plans are soon derailed by a vampire chasing the pair back to her home.”

Natalia (Alfonsina Carrocio) is a teenage girl who is never allowed out after dark. Once the sun goes down, her father, Aguirre (Germán Palacios), locks the house, shutters the windows, and dowses the fire in the hearth. Having lived years like this without a reasonable explanation for his behavior, Natalia decides to escape one night to have fun with her boyfriend Alexis (Tomás Carullo Lizzio). But Natalia’s plans are soon derailed by a vampire chasing the pair back to her home. But even though they have locked themselves inside, they are far from safe, as her father’s family secrets are revealed, and the true horror begins.

A Taste of Blood has a narrative framework that has been repeated in iconic stories for generations — in cinema, you can easily point to works like StagecoachThe Thing, and The Hateful Eight for the dynamic you can find here. The setup has mountainous potential to explore all sorts of psychological and sociological drama which can occur between people under pressure. Calvete manages to work in some pretty damning and poignant statements about family loyalty versus our inherent flight-or-fight reflexes. This is not a hopeful story — it’s as if a nightmare had become sentient and wanted to torture all of the characters as often as possible. But the torture does not come via the typical visceral gore and violence associated with vampire films, though some certainly exist, but more the route of a family tragedy meeting an allegory.

A Taste of Blood (2022)

Directed and Written: Santiago Fernández Calvete

Starring: Germán Palacios, Alfonsina Carrocio, Tomás Carullo Lizzio, Naiara Awada, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

A Taste of Blood Image

"…one of the more unique cinematic experiences I have ever consumed..."

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