I tend to enjoy road movies. Sure, they feel episodic, but that’s part of the fun of it: watching a couple of characters interact with one another on a trip as they slide in and out of random encounters with others. Some road films can be dark and terrifying (The Hitcher). Some are lighter, but still serious (Two-Lane Blacktop). And some are just goofy as hell (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back)!
Blood Relatives is 100% a road movie, so where does it fall on the spectrum? Somewhere in between the second and third categories. Sure, it plays with horror themes – it’s a vampire tale after all – but the film never attempts to scare you with those elements. Near Dark this is not, but that’s not a bad thing. It honestly owes way more of a debt to Peter Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon than it does other vampire road flicks like Near Dark or The Forsaken.
At its core, this is a charming little slice of life drama about an orphaned teen getting to know her estranged father. That he is a vampire and she a dhampir is almost incidental, which is what makes it so special. One could just as easily swap that connection out with an equally unique (be it supernatural or not) trait and the story would still work, which is no small feat.
Noah Segan does a fine job of writing and directing here, but it’s his performance that really sticks out. It’s always been a pleasure to see him continually popping up in genre fare for more than a decade now, but this is perhaps his best performance to date. That he got his best performance out of himself on his own directorial debut is commendable.
His partner-in-crime here as the teen daughter is Victoria Moroles, who happens to be even more charming than Segan. This is the second dynamite performance I’ve seen from her recently, with the previous being as the co-lead of last year’s stellar comedy, Plan B. At this point, I can comfortable declare her a star in the making. If she doesn’t hit big in the next decade, it’ll be a cinematic crime.
Part of the fun of road movies is the oddball characters one tends to meet along with way within them and Blood Relatives is no different. There are some fun sketchy and manic performances from a few players here, but Scare Me and Werewolves Within director Josh Ruben and Death Proof star Trace Thoms were the standouts for me. The former brings every ounce of weird you’d expect from a Renfield-esque character in a vampire tale and the latter just exudes warmth and hope in every scene she has. My only complaint is that I wanted more of both by the end.
I don’t want to hype this up too much, as it’s no instant classic, but it’s still pretty great. If you’re looking for something to satisfy your cravings for carnage and terror, look elsewhere. This is not that kind of movie. If, however, you want a fun and sweet little comedic drama about two lost souls finding their future together, then Blood Relatives will deliver the goods.
If that sounds like something you’d want to see, the film is currently available to stream on Shudder.
Blood Relatives is an original horror comedy. It was written and directed by Noah Segan. The film was produced by Cameron Burns, Aaron B. Koontz, Leal Naim, Josh Ruben, Noah Segan, Alex Hansen, and Sam Zimmerman. It stars Victoria Moroles, Noah Segan, C.L. Simpson, Akasha Villalobos, Josh Ruben, Tracie Thoms, Jon Proudstar, Ammie Masterson, Doug Benson, Brian Villalobos, Reece Everett Ryan, Jessie Lucas, and Karina Dominguez.