THE BLOODHOUND Review–Edgar Allan Poe’s Macabrery in the Modern Age
Starring Liam Aiken, Annalise Basso, and Joe Adler
Written by Patrick Picard
Directed by Patrick Picard
In Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, the narrator of this short story colors the moss-ridden, crumbling of an ancient mansion known as the House of Usher. The narrator responds to a letter and visits his boyhood friend Roderick Usher, who he has been estranged from for many years. As he journeys into the house with a gothic archway and gray walls with framed eye-like windows, he finds that Roderick is not the only one that isn’t well as his sister Madeline is also ill within the house. The wounds of madness that afflict Roderick and Madeline mirrored by a deep fissure that invades the mansion’s facade, dooms the house along with its permanent residents. The film that comes closest to this story would be Roger Corman’s House of Usher (1960) where Vincent Price plays the titular character of Roderick Usher.
Love and Death Productions in conjunction with Yellow Veil Pictures and Arrow Video brings The Bloodhound, a film that dispenses with the period piece trappings and brings Poe’s macabre tale into the modern-day.
Francis (Liam Aiken) receives a cryptic letter from his decades distant friend Jean Paul Luret (Joe Adler), who invites him to his Modern Home in Southern California. Jean Paul uses his affluence along with various psychological tricks such as gaslighting, manipulation, and menace in order to keep Francis within the agoraphobic bubble of the house. Francis inquires about JP’s sister Vivian (Annalise Basso) to which JP informs Francis that she is mentally ill and instructs him not to disturb her. JP tells Francis about his aunt’s death within the confines of the house and a terrible dream he had of a man-creature whose dog-pig face was wrapped in a shirt who JP calls the bloodhound that crawls around the house and resides in one of the closets as it fills the residence with fear. It will only go away until there was a tenderness between the people who reside in the house. Francis, with little resources and nowhere to go, becomes trapped in JP’s haunted world of enticement, entrapment, and intense happenings.
Written and directed by Patrick Picard in his first feature debut, is successful in creating a spare and still atmosphere that is unnerving and hypnotic. There are shades of David Lynch throughout this film as it is similar to Eraserhead and Twin Peaks: The Return in terms of its placidity along with isolation and loneliness as the house seems to close in on them. Joined with the faceless creature of the Bloodhound that slides about adds to the dreamy dread that wafts throughout the house.
Sound mixer Delroy Cornick does an amazing job with the “soundtrack” of this film using subtle rumbles, clicks, and buzzes along with single string accompaniments to pair with the hushed atmosphere within the contained filmic space. The pairing of the muted sound and vision are effective. Thus, when you are exposed to a loud noise in the film, I found myself jarred and jumpy which works to an astounding affect. The film is fantastic, and I am anxious to view Mr. Picard’s continued oeuvre.
The brilliant performances of Liam Aiken and Joe Adler work well within the house. With Mr. Aiken’s as the naiveté and hopelessly trusting Francis contrasts effectively with Mr. Adler’s exploiting but haunted Jean-Paul. Their characters move about the space like cursed specters throughout the various rooms throughout the house which adds to the creep factor within the frames of the film.
This film may be viewed as a “slow burn”, but it works within the Poe story construct and it being a brisk 71 minutes, the movie moves along at an economical pace. If you enjoy a tale of well-crafted modern lore that doesn’t linger, don’t sleep on this spine-chilling feast.
The Bloodhound is a film that dispenses with the period piece trappings and brings Poe’s macabre tale The Fall of the House of Usher into the modern-day.