Autodidact: self-taught


The Bleeding House

by V. L. Craven

The Bleeding House poster

I was originally attracted to The Bleeding House by its poster. There wasn’t a half-naked, sweaty girl looking terrified on it, nor did it have rusty implements of torture on. It didn’t seem to be standard fare, and it wasn’t.

First, there were no big names in the cast. This is excellent because it’s easier to believe a story if you don’t immediately recognise people (it occurred to me later that the lead male had been fantastic in Galaxy Quest, but at the time he was just a creepy guy in a very neat suit.)

Second, I had no idea where the plot was going. When you watch a lot of films it’s difficult to be too surprised, but this one kept me guessing more than most.

Those two things can give a thriller a head-start, as it were, because you’re not instantly thinking about the other things you’ve seen the big actors in that weren’t so formulaic and hoping they bought something nice with all the formulaic money so they can get back to making films that aren’t crap.

But back to The Bleeding House.

The Bleeding House still

‘Hello Clarice.’ … wait, wrong film.

The plot revolves around a family, the Smiths, that has been ostracized (or possibly is under self-imposed exile) from the nearby town. The reasons become clearer throughout the film, but there’s clearly something off about at least one of the family members. [If you like that sort of setup, I highly recommend We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.]

A genteel Southern stranger has car trouble and asks for their help. Never let genteel Southern strangers in your house. (Or the non-genteel sort, either, as those always end up being inbred cannibals.) And then the fun begins!

I don’t want to say more about the plot; just watch it. And if you’ve seen it, please leave a comment below.

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