The Bloodhound - The Bloodhound (Blu Ray)   [Arrow Video - 2021]

The Bloodhound is a glumly creepy–to-subtly unsettling low-key horror film, which takes place inside a greyly claustrophobic house focusing in on just two characters. Released just last year the film very much nods back to grim and troubled thriller/ horror films of the 1970s, though with a side order of early 2000’s awkward geek-ness. Here from Arrow Video is a Blu Ray release of this slow-moving, maybe slight but effective creep feast- bringing together a director/writer & editor commentary, and a few other things.

The Bloodhound is the first feature film written & directed by LA-based Patrick Picard- who used Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher as an influence for his film & story- which finds a twenty-something geek going to visits his isolated & strange school friend, who is ill with both melancholia & strange unmanned illness. The Bloodhound is all about reduced & glum horror/ largely pared psychological thriller- so it’s not a film to shock your socks off, but instead, more creep 'n' crawl into your bone marrow- making one feel unease & at times a little queasy.

The film focuses on Jean-Paul Luret(Joe Adler)- an awkward, rich & glum twenty-something man, who comes off like a more troubled & sinister Napoleon Dynamite. He lives with his largely unseen sister, in glass, wood & grey blinded large secluded house. The film charts a visit from his school friend Francis (Liam Aiken) - who is equally awkward, though slightly more devious.

The whole thing is very slowly paced & lulling in it’s unfold- early on it almost comes across as near to art house, with its use of sparse & spare dialogue, but this is largely down to the awkwardness of these two young men. We find out fairly soon both Jean/ JP & mostly unseen sister Vivian(Annalise Basso) are down with some unknown illness, we also find out that JP has not left the house in two to three years- ordering in all food & entertainment he needs.  The film charts three or four days- with the tone nicely shifting from awkward-to- unease, with along the way some very chilling & nervy jarring moments along the way.

Joe Adler, who had previously appeared in the likes of The Maze Runner & the recent Twin Peaks reboot, is impressively understated-yet-unsettling in his role as rich geek Jean/ JP. He shifts from been awkward & odd, though to quietly unbalanced & spoilt, onto creepy & unpredictable. Liam Aiken as seemingly JP’s only friend Francis, is also most effective playing well a geek with a more shift side. The film largely just focuses on the pair, with slight appearances from JP’s sinister Vivian, who remains largely hidden behind her bedroom door. And a few other fleeting characters. The whole thing is fittingly scored by drifting & haunting piano keys, and an off-key ambience. I must say I was most impressed by The Bloodhound- as director Picard creates an effective atmosphere that moves between creepy awkwardness & lulling unease. The cast is all well picked, and on the whole, it’s most certainly a creepy & compelling film- which gets under your skin, bringing shudders slowly-but-surely to the surface.

On the extras side, we get an interesting selection of things- first, off we get a commentary track from writer/director Patrick Picard and the films editor David Scorca- this is a most informative & rewarding track. The pair move from discussing some of the more unusual ways the score was captured like recording elements from railway carriages, moving onto how the film's title came about, and the idea of The Bloodhound. They go onto discuss the shot set-ups, the wonderful house location. Moving onto talk about how they decided on editing via chess ideas &  Daoism, they move on chat about how certain scenes came about, etc. If you enjoyed the film, as I did. it's a most worthy track which gives you some nice insights.
Next, we get a forty-five-minute making of, and once again I found this most interesting- it brings together interviews with Picard, Scorca, art director Mara Certic, lead actor Joe Adler, and a few other members of the crew. With onset footage. All interviewed give more great insight into the film's production, also you get a lot more background detail about the location- a 1930 modernist house in LA. The on-set footage gives you a good look at how the crew managed to shoot the film on a fairly small budget, and issues they hit against. Again a great extra. Lastly, we get a selection of Picard short films, and these really are short- running between one & a few minutes, and in each he does manage to capture a great feeling of unease/ unsettlement.

With Arrow Video picking up & putting out The Bloodhound they’ve scored one of the more classy, distinctive, and subtle uneasy psychological thrillers in recent memory. I look forward to seeing what Picard does next, as he is such an original talent, who really can create a very tangible feeling of grey dread & lulling unease. Highly, highly recommended!.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty