Written by Zoë Rose Smith
In recent years the slow-burn horror sub-genre has risen to heart palpitating levels, and continues to laden the audience with a heightened viewing experience, one that is full of anxiety and dread. However, it is not the easiest to execute as a gentle dripping of plot needs to be paced to perfection, hold enough mystery and have an exceptionally strong cast to pull it through the disconcerting minutes. Patrick Picard’s obscure and perplexing The Bloodhound manages to pull off all those elements to give the viewer something that feels incomprehensible yet full of distressing intrigue.
The timid, stable and dedicated Francis receives an elusive letter from a wealthy childhood friend explaining he’s been having a terrible time with his state of mind and could use the company of an old friend to remedy how he is feeling and provide support. Francis obliges and goes to stay with his eccentric, enigmatic yet peculiar friend JP and his twin sister Vivian. JP seems to have reached a moment in his life where his mental health has taken a turn for the worst and he doesn’t quite know how to solve his melancholy, all the whilst his sister Vivian is unwell with some form of illness that stops her from appearing from the confines of her room. The longer Francis stays, the more he becomes entrapped in the curiosa of JP’s world and feels that there may be something darker hiding in the walls, the wardrobes and in JP’s mind.
The Bloodhound is a film that is difficult to put into words due to the fact there is really no defined aspect that can be spoken about without giving too much away or nothing at all. Picard subdues the viewer with a breathtaking atmosphere that is full of uncertainty, confusion and the gut feeling that something awful is going to happen at any minute throughout the duration. From the very beginning until the second the film closes, it is a constant guessing game as to what will happen next and how everything slots together. In many cases a film with such a bizarre feel about it could cause frustration, yet this slice of human horror has a compelling draw that keeps you watching with an absurd need to understand exactly what is playing out on screen.
The entirety of the film is like a maze of metaphors, with every scene adding something to the script, but never fully allowing the audience to know quite what it means. With champagne filled basements full of fear, faceless monsters with animalistic tendencies, and dream analogies that even a psychologist would struggle with, there is so much to unpack with The Bloodhound that it feels like something that needs multiple viewings to come to some formation of a conclusion.
Liam Aiken as Francis and Joe Adler as JP are absolutely spectacular in their roles and allow full immersion in the unusual world that Picard has imagined. Adler never misses a beat with his performance and constantly fills the viewer with a sense of anxiety that cannot be dismissed – he perfects his depiction of that weird childhood friend we all have who is full of woe and anguish yet makes us feel alive with their obscured view of the world. Aiken also delivers an impeccable performance as the endearing friend who just wants to do right by an old friend, even when they begin to feel increasingly threatened and awkward in every situation.
The Bloodhound is perhaps one of the most disconcerting, confusing and bizarre films to grace the screen, but that just adds to the atmosphere and intrigue of it. It will leave you feeling uncomfortable and a little out of sorts but it is something that allows the viewer to dive through theories and watch more than once with utter fascination.
Rating: 4 out of 5