A Taste of Blood (Sangre Vurdalak) Image

A Taste of Blood (Sangre Vurdalak)

By Matthew Roe | July 5, 2022

The thematic strengths are augmented by impeccable sound design and mixing, providing a wealthy, immersive soundscape that needs little to get us hooked while still keeping us in the moment. While Santosh Logandran’s musical score is thoroughly evocative and mostly appropriate to the events on screen, it often suffers from odd shifts. This interrupts the emotional flow of several scenes, almost becoming distracting at times — I heard this may have been the result of post-production meddling by distributors. However, I am uncertain if that is true. This inconsistency is compounded by the stuttering of narrative continuity in the last act, when the steady pacing of the preceding two-thirds is thrown about with seemingly reckless abandon, along with its established timeline.

“…Rebella’s strong cinematography remains a highlight throughout…”

While Manuel Rebella’s strong cinematography remains a highlight throughout A Taste of Blood, buttressed by Mariana Quiroga’s largely effective and sharp editing, and Pablo Maestre Galli’s claustrophobic art direction, one design element made full immersion impossible. The copy I was provided has an odd blend of off-kilter English dubbing and the original Spanish language track with English subtitles. There doesn’t seem to be any consistency to who has what post-production treatment. I looked into it, and other reviews also point out this disorienting presentation, which makes me believe this was not fully intentional on behalf of the filmmakers. However, it may be the actual release that the distributor means for English-speaking audiences to consume. If true, it severely hobbles the effectiveness of the film.

A Taste of Blood deserves a full Spanish-with-English-subtitles release because the performances are too good to have a half-worked dub slathered over it like a rushed paint job. The film is hauntingly atmospheric, made even more so with a fantastic spin on vampirism which blends both folklore and modern disease sensitivities into a great display of nuanced creature effects. Its cast of flawed characters manages to be both piteous and insufferable, and while its climax is a jumble of contradictions and logical jumps, I was glued to the screen the whole time. While certainly not reinventing much from its source material, the film provides a (mostly) well-polished experience that’ll hopefully signify more internationally-released work from Calvete will come.

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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