The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Shudder] - BLEED WITH ME | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Shudder] - BLEED WITH ME

bleed with me review
A young woman suspects her friend of stealing her blood.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Amelia Moses

Starring: Lee Marshall, Lauren Beatty, Aris Tyros

bleed with me poster

Relationships sure can be draining. They can drain your time, your energy, even your finances. In writer/director Amelia Moses' feature debut Bleed with Me, a young woman begins to suspect that her best friend is draining her very lifeforce. I mean that literally. She thinks her BFF is stealing her blood.

Rowan's (Lee Marshall) first mistake is to agree to accompany her best buddy Emily (Lauren Beatty) and her boyfriend Brendan (Aris Tyros) on a weekend getaway to her family's remote cabin. Come on Rowan, haven't you ever seen a horror movie? It's a literal cabin in the friggin' woods!

bleed with me review

To be fair to Rowan, Emily and Brendan seem like an innocent enough pair, what your mother might describe as "a couple of nice kids." And Emily seems to be Rowan's only friend in the world, having buddied up with her in their workplace when seemingly nobody else would.

If anything, Rowan is the oddest member of this trio. She seems one hangnail away from a full blown mental breakdown, a bag of nerves bursting at the seams. Scars on her wrist hint at a troubled past. If this were 1976 she might be played by Geraldine Chaplin, whose anxious energy Marshall seems to echo. Emily and Brendan seem annoyingly stable, the sort of rich kids that populated the early films of Whit Stillman. But there's a WASPy creepiness to Emily, which comes to the fore when Rowan cuts herself and Emily immediately pounces to suck the blood from her finger. "There," she soothes her friend. "All better." Yikes.

bleed with me review

Maybe Emily was just being helpful to a friend in need, but that night Rowan experiences a strange hallucination in which her cabin-mates seem to be tampering with her while she's in a semi-conscious state. The following morning Rowan realises she's bleeding from one of her wrist wounds. Has Emily opened it up during the night to feast on her blood?

Bleed with Me plays as a curiously novel domestic abuse allegory. It's not some burly man physically beating Rowan, but rather her female best friend who seems to be gaslighting her. Rowan has a couple of opportunities to flee the cabin, yet hesitates each time. Like a beaten spouse, she seems to weigh up her options and is left wanting. If she runs out on her one friend, will she be left alone? Maybe it's all in her head? Maybe she's brought it on herself?

bleed with me review

Moses has found two impressive leads in Marshall and Beatty. Both actresses have a strangely unsettling manner about them, and watching them perform Rowan and Emily's politely passive aggressive cat and mouse game does enough to paper over some of the film's cracks.

Like its protagonists, Moses' film is stiflingly obtuse in its true intentions, to a degree that ultimately becomes frustrating. Even as a self-confessed fan of ambiguity, I felt a little cheated by the climax, which leaves us scratching our heads as to just what sort of story we've been spun. In parts Bleed with Me relies a little too heavily on Single White Female-esque tropes, but there's an interesting movie buried amid the genre conventions here. I look forward to seeing if Moses can bring her voice to the fore in future works.

Bleed with Me
 is on Shudder from August 10th.

2021 movie reviews