Still, the film, at its core, is a mystery, and while the filmmaker set up a lot of tantalizing questions (weird runic symbols, mysterious flashing lights in the distance, local residents who seem to know more than they’re letting on), it somewhat runs into problems in paying them off satisfyingly. It’s not that Brown and Gosling’s slow-burn approach to the story’s mounting horrors is a bad choice, but for that structure to really work, the sense of dread shouldn’t flag the way it too often does, here, and the reveals ought to be more original and shocking.
Blood Myth‘s handling of its more traditional horror moments runs hot-and-cold, as well. The film’s opening flashback, a frantic midnight search for a missing girl that’s lit by flashlight and punctuated by the jarring sounds of barking dogs, is effective and tense, and it ends on one of the film’s most striking images. In contrast, there’s a scene late in the film in which a character menaces Lincoln with a hammer, and it’s staged so halfheartedly that he might as well be wielding a warmed-over breadstick.
“…the more central question is whether or not Blood Myth is scary – and the answer, for the most part, is yes…”
That’s too bad because Blood Myth mostly manages to avoid some of the biggest pitfalls of low-budget horror, consistently maintaining its eerie tone and never egregiously insulting viewers’ intelligence. The film is well-acted across the board, and everyone involved seems to understand the kind of movie they’re making keenly; the feel is, thankfully, much closer to the original Wicker Man than its infamous Nicolas Cage-starring remake. The script even manages to work in a bit of subtle social commentary, questioning how the urban legends and folkloric boogeymen of the past have managed to survive – maybe even thrive – in the social media era.
Of course, the more central concern is whether or not Blood Myth is scary – and the answer, for the most part, is yes. If the film’s invented terrors aren’t likely to blow genre aficionados’ minds, the more down-to-earth fears it draws on – like hearing the same message over and over when the person you’re calling, for some reason, just won’t answer their phone – have their way of getting under one’s skin. This is a smart enough movie to beg the question: who needs myths when the world can be such a frightening place, as-is?