Blood on Her Name screened at Montreal’s genre film festival, Fantasia, last year. Because of the packed schedule of that great fest, I did not get to see it, so was very happy when it came full circle to me recently as it is getting a VOD release.
This Southern gothic neo-noir (that’s a mouthful!) is based on a woman who accidentally kills a man while defending herself. Panicked, she decides to cover up the death.
Single mother of a teenage son (Jared Ivers – The Prayer Box), Leigh Tiller (Bethany Anne Lind – from television’s Ozark) has had a rough go of it of late. Her ex-husband is in jail due to his shady operations at the small rural garage they own. She is now left, with her one employee Reynoso (Jimmy Gonzales – Happy Death Day 2U, Godzilla: King of the Monsters), to run the garage which is not doing bang up business.
In order to keep a roof over her and her son’s heads she has had to continue with the shady stuff her ex started. This has led to a confrontation with the man who ends up dead. Once her father (Will Patton – Armageddon, The Punisher), who is the town sheriff, and the girlfriend of the dead man start sniffing around things start going down hill, but quickly, for Leigh.
A tightly paced character study involving family dynamics, secrets, lies, and violence. A lot happens during the 85 minute run time of Blood on Her Name which was the directorial debut for Matthew Pope, who also co-wrote the script. He demonstrates a good eye and a knack for telling a layered story without muddying up the water too much. Meaning he does not waste time on scenes that do not have anything to do with the telling of the story. Fat trimmed.
You really feel sorry for Leigh. She seems a victim of the circumstances of her life. With her ex leaving her with a son to raise and bills to pay without a viable way of earning money. Turning to a decision which involves something illegal, you end up not judging her as many of us would have made the same one. Then the killing of the man is totally a case of self defense. When even Leigh feels guilty for what she has done, you totally relate.
Bleak in nature and dark in tone and look, Blood on Her Name keeps up the tension throughout. Deals with actions and consequences. The psychological thriller will satisfy most viewers looking for something deep and different.
Available on VOD as of February 28.