Movie Review: Vampires have little use for “Aaron’s Blood”

aaron

When it comes to making a vampire movie that will stand out from the crowd, these days, the bar’s been set pretty high. Some of us–MOST of us — have seemingly seen it all.

What’s new under the sun, which no vampire can bask in because, well, you know?

“Aaron’s Blood” throws the hemophiliac son of a phlebotomist at us, so there’s at least the potential for a little novelty.

But there’s virtually no point to making the title character a professional bloodmobile nurse (James Martinez) in “Aaron’s Blood.” So little is made of this that you wonder which draft writer-director Tommy Stovall abandoned his original premise in.

We’re set up for a Dad, with access to gallons and gallons of blood, desperately trying to save his son’s life even as he works out how to “cure” him of this terminal/immortal “condition.” But the C-movie that he made delivers no desperation, no “inside track” knowledge or access, no “special skills” that Dad can use to spare Little Man Tate.

The kid (Trevor Stovall, you figure it out) is bullied at school, a dangerous fate for a boy whose blood won’t clot. His Dad, Aaron (Martinez) knows this better than anybody.

A broken nose, and Tate is in mortal danger. But something happened in the hospital. He gets well in an instant. He discovers he doesn’t need his glasses any more. And he’s got the strength to intimidate an army of bullies. If he can just remember to stay out of the sun, and maybe control that insatiable thirst.

Most of the players are better at physical acting than in delivering stilted line-readings. The problem really gets out of hand the further down the cast list you go.

But it is director Stovall (“Sedona,” “Hate Crime”) who knocks his movie utterly off the rails in one incredulously stupid scene.

Vampire hunters (Michael Chieffo, Michael Peach) show up, in the dark of night, to deal with the new blood-sucker in their little Arizona town.

“Just a guy trying to do the right thing,” one explains, double-bladed ax in hand.

Aaron interrupts their attempted beheading of his son, only to see the kid kill and feed off one of the intruders. Naturally, the other vampire hunter has sympathy for the killer and his father, leaves his ax with Aaron and — TOTALLY FORGETTING the friend/trusted colleague whom he’s just seen slaughtered and blood-sucked — leaves them be.

Stovall scripts several nightmare scenarios that Aaron experiences, and wakes up from — cheap tricks. He has the boy three steps ahead of his dad in figuring out what’s happening, and doesn’t do nearly enough with the boy’s new “condition” in addition to more or less forgetting dad’s special expertise. An 80 minute movie doesn’t leave much time for more telling scenes.

It’s a standard-issue vampire tale, with an all-explaining priest (David Castellvi), and no one we care about sparing from the fangs, or an eternal life of murder and corpse-draining. Its few novel touches aren’t enough to lift “Aaron’s Blood” into the realm of vampire-movie-worth-seeing.

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MPAA Rating: Unrated, with graphic violence
Cast: James Martinez, Trevor Stovall, Farah White, Michael ChieffoDavid Castellvi
Credits: Written and directed by Tommy Stovall. A Gravitas release.
Running time: 1:19

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