What do you call a vampire movie with no teeth? Blood.

Just kidding—sort of. Director Brad Anderson adds another film that should be better to his resume (see also: The Machinist, Session 9), this time dragging along Michelle Monaghan as Jess, a mother and nurse going through a bitter divorce.

Jess, her children Tyler (Skylar Morgan Jones) and Owen (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong), along with family dog Pippin, move into Jess’s childhood home, a creepy place that needs a coat of paint and an exorcism. Here, it gets the Anderson treatment: a litany of half-baked and underexplored ideas that walk to the edge of effectiveness until the movie lurches toward other half-baked and underexplored ideas.

The setup is decent. Pippin chases an unseen evil into the woods. Upon returning home, he attacks Owen, biting at his jugular and seriously wounding him until Jess dispatches the dog with several blows to the head.

As Owen recovers at the hospital where Jess conveniently works, he and Jess discover he can’t handle food; Owen has a new and insatiable thirst for blood. (It never occurred to Anderson that there are bad-hospital-food jokes to be made here, I guess.)

As luck, coincidence, and contrivance would have it, Jess the RN has access to the hospital’s blood bags. She’s also friendly with a terminally ill cancer patient (June B. Wilde) no one would miss. 

See where it’s all going? Even Blood’s bad double-entendre marketing campaign gives it away: “How far would you go to save your child?” (Get it?) By the time Owen goes full Vlad, Monaghan’s natural charisma and a bottle of Geritol can’t save Blood from its own anemic silliness, right down to the absurd explanation for Owen’s condition. Skip it and stream Let the Right One In. 108 min.

Limited release in theaters

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