Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse Image

Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse

By Jordan Bond | June 6, 2023

Director Seth Breedlove and writer Jason Utes explore the origins and history of the Jersey Devil in their film Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse. The feature is a hybrid between documentary and narrative horror. Primarily, it’s a documentary covering the history of the Jersey Devil or Leeds Devil as it is otherwise known. Supplementing this is the inclusion of three short narrative dramatizations of incidences involving the cryptid.

The documentary portion includes interviews with a handful of local experts who paint a broad picture of the infamous legend. Attention is given to the ongoing significance in the regional culture of the supernatural animal. The experts explain that the Jersey Devil is most often considered to reside in the Pine Barrens, a section of New Jersey forest rich with lore and scarce inhabitants. The interviewees speak of various stories told over the years involving the Jersey Devil and its looming presence in the community. We learn that the legend is so prevalent it influenced the naming of the professional hockey team, the New Jersey Devils. By the film’s end, the experts describe the earliest origins and namesake of the Leeds Devil.

The three dramatization shorts plugged in between interviews depict incidences from three different time periods. The first short of Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse takes place in 1989, the second in 1909, and the third in 1735. Each segment has a unique creative style that visually fits the period it is set. A computer-generated image of the Jersey Devil is present in all three tales, giving the viewer an idea of what the creature might really look like.

“…the origins and history of the Jersey Devil…”

These narrative interstitials are generally well done and worthy of their own anthology, separate from the documentary. It was a bold choice to insert these dramatizations as standalone segments bookending interviews rather than integrating them with narration from the experts layered over top. As it stands now, it felt as though I was bouncing back and forth between two different movies, and it never quite felt cohesive.

The film is at its strongest when providing a history lesson on the Jersey Devil and the environment in which its lives. The experts interviewed are knowledgeable and passionate in describing the strange stories and circumstances surrounding the legendary being. Aside from that one episode of The Sopranos where Christopher and Paulie get lost, I didn’t have much knowledge of the Pine Barrens area of New Jersey. I certainly didn’t have much knowledge of the Jersey Devil or its origins. That is the reason I found the film to be very informative, insightful, and ultimately interesting.

Often, films about folklore and legends like Bigfoot can be goofy or cheesy, but thankfully that is not the case with Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse. This film has a certain level of seriousness and dignity in its subject matter. Though it may not be as famous on a national scale as Bigfoot, Breedlove engaged me and left me wondering where truth ends, and myth begins in the legend of the Jersey Devil.

Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse (2022)

Directed: Seth Breedlove

Written: Jason Utes

Starring: Adam Alderson, Meghan Barylak, Lindsay Dunphy, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

Bloodlines: The Jersey Devil Curse Image

"…very informative, insightful..."

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