The Things We Cannot Change Image

Right from the fog machine opening sets that look like something from Dark ShadowsThe Things We Cannot Change immediately wears its lack of extravagance on its sleeve. It is not expensive looking at all. The camera work is purely functional bread and butter shooting, nothing fancy. Nelson’s production values here are based on committed actors, highly potent vampire makeup, and an intricate script with a lot of world-building. It works beautifully.

Nelson is a dime store auteur who has created something incredible out of thin air. His vampire makeup is a simple layout of fangs, white contact lenses, and lots of blood spray. It is the dead solid perfect antidote for those of us who are tired of werewolf-faced vampires. It keeps the horror elements fresh. Massive props go to the badass makeup in the finale, provided by Lemire. There is also this city landscape at dusk shot used as a transition image that has these cool light motes that look like blood vessels.

“…created something incredible out of thin air.”

The script goes out of its way never to use the word vampire, a conceit that gains extra relevancy after the big reveal at the end (also, it might be a nod to cult favorite Near Dark). The comedy is well delivered and not overdone, a mix of observational humor with the inevitable material generated by the Dracula rehab concept. The actors perform broadly enough to fit the comedy but bend serious when needed. In the end, the horror overwhelms the humor and even the supernatural elements, as addiction is the true dreadfulness.

The depth Nelson puts into his examination of addiction through vampirism is impressive, all on a low budget. Like The Things We Cannot Change, my rehab was not a big expensive stay at a palm trees resort affair. In the 1990s, while reading Film Threat magazine, I drank hard liquor every time I sat down. I got clean, spending my days in church basements in Toledo at meetings while getting through nights of insomnia and seizures. It cost nearly nothing as gas was less than a buck a gallon to hop to churches across town. It helped give me the tools to get off the sauce, despite my conviction I was born to drink. This is the world I saw Nelson’s vampires caught in. The richness of the blood-addict planet of the film is recognizable and rings true. If you are strung out on fright flicks, you will relish the alchemy of real-life horror with the supernatural. If you are just strung out, you will appreciate the fanged mirror. 

The Things We Cannot Change (2022)

Directed and Written: Joshua Nelson

Starring: Richard Rampolla, Jenn Nobile, Laure Lemire, Katie Raulerson, Jennifer Torres, Suzanne Johnson, Julia Wyrzuc, Jeff Clark Jr., etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The Things We Cannot Change Image

"…the blood-addict planet of the film is recognizable and rings true."

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