From the beginning, The Bleeding House is a quirky and strange feature with a slow burn, methodical approach. This eventually gives way to something that is both startling and brutal. It’s like an orchestral movement that crescendos into one big gut punching finish.
At the onset, we’re introduced to a family of four who’ve recently moved into a new home in the countryside out west. A dedicated father, looking to rebuild his reputation as a lawyer. His wife, doing her best to remain supportive yet it’s evident the strain of not having regular monetary support is beginning to wear on her. A teenage son who wishes he lived anywhere but there. And a quiet and antisocial daughter who has a collection of dead bugs in her room, a stash of bones and other artifacts hidden outside and who only responds to the name of Blackbird. Topping off our introductions, we see mom slaving away at the stove for that night’s supper. After using a kitchen knife, she quickly washes and places it back in a drawer, maintaining its security by placing a padlock. Clearly, there is something amiss with this family.
Before they can get through dinner, the disgruntled son leaves and hauls out of the driveway, taking the family van to meet up with a new found female interest. Before dad can stop him, he bumps into a man who’s shown up on his front doorstep. He’s wearing white from head to toe and he’s topped off with a nice white cap. He’s also carrying a leather duffel bag and sporting a very thick Southern accent. Charming from the get-go, he talks about his cross country travels and how he enjoys taking the back roads through towns. He appreciates the off the beaten path nature of the American countryside. He also mentions that his car has broken down and that he is in need of a place to stay for the night. After initial reluctance from his wife, the man of the house obliges and invites our ivory clad man in to stay for the night.
The wife serves the man some dinner and the remaining family members start up a bit of small talk. The traveler speaks of his profession as a doctor and how he lost his family in a terrible crime years ago. He’s instantly drawn to and becomes fond of the daughter despite her awkwardness and antisocial behavior. At this point, you start to get the sense that he’s there for something else other than a roof over his head and some good intentioned hospitality.
Sure enough, not long after settling down, our white clothed mystery man takes mom and dad down, incapacitating them and tying them up. He performs a ritual, hooking them up to a crude dialysis machine and drains their blood. And in the process, he explains to them how he came to be, a refined monster with a purpose. After disposing of most of the family, including the brother who’s now come back, he then ties up the daughter. It’s at this point that we learn his true reason for being there, his motive as a killer and the larger realization that he’s attempting to bring to the antisocial, teenage girl. Namely, (without giving too much away) that she’s every bit the monster that he is and that she needs to embrace what it is that resides within her. And we learn just what it is our family was running from and why it is they decided to start off anew.
Dark, brutal, relentless, and refreshingly original, The Bleeding House is a film that completely snuck up on me. It was totally off my radar. It recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and has now found its way onto some VOD services. Easily within my top films of 2011. I highly recommend it.