It’s always interesting to see actors step out of their comfort zones. One of the biggest reasons to see Bloodline, a psychological horror film and neo-noir of sorts, is that it stars Seann William Scott as a psychotic murderer.

You will remember the actor from a long string of lowbrow comedies such as the American Pie franchise in which he starred as Steve Stifler, Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000) and Goon (2011) to name a few. It seems like he’s been playing the loud comic relief forever. Finally, he’s been given a chance by Blumhouse Productions to branch out.

Blumhouse Productions is interesting in that they produce low-budget horror movies and give upcoming filmmakers and performers with potential a chance. Some of their breakout films have included Paranormal Activity (2009) and Insidious (2010).

Unfortunately, Bloodline has far too many flaws to become a cult classic like those films. Its characterisation lacks depth, its pacing is uneven, and its script lacks fine-tuning. On top of that, its themes are all over the place. However, it has an interesting premise. And why shouldn’t it? After all, it was inspired by Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter novels, which were adapted into an iconic show starring Michael C. Hall.

Despite some cool visuals and an interesting premise, Bloodline has far too many flaws to become a cult classic

In Bloodline, Seann William Scott plays a counsellor for at-risk youth named Evan Cole. Cole grew up with an immensely abusive father. This may have shaped his decision to become a counsellor to help teens. Unfortunately, Cole goes too far. Whenever he meets an abused teenager, he learns more about their abuser. Then, he locates them, ties them up, talks to them, and then cuts their throats in cold blood, even if they happen to be parents.

Soon, there’s a plot twist. Evan becomes a father when his wife Lauren (Mariela Garriga) gives birth to a baby boy. While he loves his family fiercely, he’s unable to continue his serial killing ways with his new responsibilities. Moreover, the baby’s crying triggers him.

What should have been an interesting twist drags it down. After a promising first act, Bloodline turns into a dull watch as the film struggles to hold our interest. Eventually, it recovers somewhat, but it’s not enough for me to give Bloodline a wholehearted recommendation.

There are a couple of interesting things about the film though. The first is that the film offers some cool visuals. There are many interesting split-screen shots by first-time director Henry Jacobson, that use the split-focus dioptre in a nice homage to the ‘70s and legendary filmmakers such as Brian De Palma (Scarface). As is customary for this genre, the film also offers some gratuitous violence and nudity, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Seann William Scott is very convincing as a psychopath, though it takes a while to get used to watching him in a subtler performance.

The other interesting aspect of Bloodline is Seann William Scott’s performance. I really enjoyed watching him in this role. He is very convincing as a psychopath, though it takes a while to get used to watching him in a subtler performance. I just wish that the script had given him more to work with.

Ultimately, Bloodline doesn’t do enough to be worth the ticket price. However, it may satisfy the curiosity of viewers interested in something different.

MPAA: R (for strong bloody violence and disturbing images, graphic nudity, and language)

Published in Dawn, ICON, October 6th, 2019