Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
As horror movies go zombie flicks tend to fall on the lower end of the quality scale, as they don’t cost a lot to produce and tend to stick to the same story beats and cliched characters, time and time again. But every now and then, we get one that stands a little taller than the rest and Blood Quantum is one of those movies I think the father of zombie flicks, George A. Romero himself would have approved of.
The plot revolves around a small isolated Mi’kmaq reserve of Red Crow where the dead are coming back to life and attacking the living. Everyone is being infected by the attacks, with the exception of the Native Americans who are strangely immune.
From the get go I appreciated a couple things about this movie. One was the practical effects, which are some of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Most horror fans will tell you, there’s nothing like the “real” thing and I loved the gory and brutal scenes on display here. I mean, what’s a zombie movie without copious amounts of blood and gore right?
Secondly was the plot itself. While this is very much a zombie movie, with all the cliched contrivances you would expect from the sub-genre of horror, the immunity angle, as well as the deeper themes at play, like the effect of colonisation on the Indigenous people of America, and the cycle of pain and anger brought on by parental abandonment were all handled very well.
The performances were all around very good and seeing the majority of the cast portrayed by actual Indigenous people shows a solid step in the right direction for Native Americans in cinema.
Unfortunately trying to balance the undead absurdity with these heavier themes is where this movie stumbles. You can tell director and writer Jeff Barnaby was trying his best to metaphorically show the emotional, long/lasting damage done by colonisers, who practiced Blood Quantum (a term referring to the genocidal act of determining the percentage of a person’s native heritage, to decide if they should be allowed to live in their homelands) but the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse, with the over the top kills and dark comedic moments, just makes it difficult for the deeper emotional moments to have any real impact.
It’s a lot to unpack, so I’ll just break down my review by saying, pacing issues and uneven tones aside, Blood Quantum is a better than average zombie movie, with some gnarly kills and great practical effects that should appease any fans of the sub-genre. It’s no Night of the Living Dead, but among the mess of monthly undead movies that are out there, this one just might be the best of the bunch.
Rating: 6 out of 10
For the lighter side of the zombie genre you can check out my Top 5 Zombie Comedies if you Love Zombieland here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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