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Panic Fest 2021 Review: ‘Blood Conscious’ Is a Survival Pressure Cooker That Doesn’t Stop


Nothing good ever seems to happen in the woods. Summer camps, fishing trips, hikes, they always seem to end in some kind fo disaster in horror movies. Which is also the case of Blood Conscious.

The story follows a family on their way to a reunion with their parents at a cabin in the forest. Kevin (Oghenero Gbaje, Miscalculated), his sister Brittney (DeShawn White, Motherless Brooklyn) and her fiancé Tony (Lenny Thomas, Ruthless) drive to the remote location only to find the aftermath of a massacre. Their parents and several other people shot dead and strewn about the grass to their discovery and despair. They soon find the culprit, a mysterious Stranger (Nick Damici, Hap & Leonard) armed with a shotgun demanding they identify themselves and insisting that his victims were possessed by “demons” and had to be slaughtered. Turning into a fight for survival and escalating questions about what really happened and who might not be what they appear to be.

Blood Conscious is a terse and intense thriller that builds and builds with no end. As the trio and their captor come to blows, one twist and turn after another leads to their captor becoming captive, the moral quandaries that abound from it, and the infectious paranoia that the events and people involved are not what they seem.

Which is all well and fine, but it often felt as though there wasn’t as much pay-off from the increasing tensions and storylines. Kevin, Brittney, and Tony do come to blows over the course of the film and as they deal with further and further suspicions from the stranger and their situation, but it never quite gives enough detail or conclusion to these events. Which works in its own way by being so ambiguous, but some may see this as a disappointment.

The definite highlight of Blood Conscious is the cast. Oghenero Gbaje, DeShawn White, and Lenny Thomas have excellent chemistry together as an increasingly dysfunctional and paranoid family caught in a disturbing situation. Kevin and Tony coming to further and further blows and arguments as they struggle to escape their plight.

And considering the short runtime of the movie at 80 minutes and the minimal cast and setting, the trio carry the plot quite well and I look forward to seeing them in other projects in the future. And though the title of the movie is Blood Conscious, don’t come in expecting a gorefest. Blood and violence is relatively minimal outside of a few key scenes, though used effectively. Most of the scares are int he mind and in the dark as the greater horror highlighted is people fearing and turning on one another.

Image via IMDB

Though the plot is a bit flimsy, the cast and style of Blood Quantum still makes it a backwoods thriller worth a watch.

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