Blood Myth centers on an ominous local legend known as “Thirty,” and its characters regularly speak that word in the same hushed, fearful tones as anxious twenty-somethings facing the impending era when both their responsibilities – and their hangovers – will become a whole lot more severe.
Writing/directing duo Sean Brown and Luke Gosling aren’t interested in coming-of-middle-age angst, however. Instead, the pair’s feature debut mines some of the same thematic ground as horror classic The Wicker Man, sending its protagonist on a nightmarish journey into an isolated community’s darkest and most closely guarded secrets.
Said protagonist is frustrated big-city journalist James Lincoln (Jonathan McClean), who’s drawn the unusual – and unlikely – assignment of interviewing folks who claim to have encountered UFOs, sea monsters, and the like. Lincoln’s a skeptic, and desperate for a chance to report on “real” news again, but he’s got a nose for sniffing out the shreds of truth in even the most outlandish stories. Thus, his interest is immediately piqued when his barber relates to him the story of Herg: a small town where mysterious disappearances have been occurring at precisely 30-year intervals, going back centuries. Hence, “Thirty” – and, yes, the film’s dialogue is self-aware enough to suggest that such a sinister story deserves a much more creative name.
a small town where mysterious disappearances have been occurring at precisely 30-year intervals…
At any rate, Lincoln quickly learns that Herg and “Thirty” have been a hot topic among internet conspiracy theorists and folklore enthusiasts for some time, and the 30th anniversary of the previous disappearance is just days away. And so, with his very pregnant girlfriend Harriet (Anna Dawson) in tow, he decides to check things out for himself.
On his second day there, he wakes up to find Harriet gone.
Credit is due to Brown and Gosling for grounding Blood Myth in a premise that’s tailor-made for generating both suspense and sympathy (think Roman Polanski’s Frantic). There’s something innately compelling in following a character who doesn’t know where to turn in a place that’s so unfamiliar and so unhelpful, and the filmmakers wring a lot of genuine tension out of Lincoln’s escalating frustration and confusion. Blood Myth also uses the lush but mostly deserted English countryside to strong atmospheric effect, and although the budget is obviously small, the limited and very sparsely populated locations actually serve to make Herg feel that much more oppressive and threatening.