DVD The Bleeding

DVD The Bleeding
DVD The Bleeding

Rating: 5.1
Genres: Drama | Horror | Mystery
Director: Philip Gelatt
Writers: Philip Gelatt
Stars: Alexandra Chando, Nina Lisandrello, Patrick Breen
A stranger with mysterious intentions comes to stay the night at a secluded country home, but what he finds inside is a family torn apart by a violent past and a secret more deadly than he expected.
Plot Keywords: family secret, blood, throat slitting, revenge, dysfunctional family
Country: USA
Release Date: 20 April 2011 (USA)


  1. Philip Gelatt's The Bleeding House is a compelling, odd piece of horror cinema. One wonders what, exactly, the director was thinking during production, and furthermore if it would have turned out better or worse if he succeeded in creating his perfect vision.

    From the dysfunctional Smith family dinner at the start, something just seems uncomfortable, unnatural even. The stilted dialogue between parents, son and laconic daughter makes the viewer wary of the acting talent—or is this just a form of stylization? The near-muteness of daughter Gloria (Alexandra Chando) appears to be the only natural, believable presence at the table, which is ironic (yet effective) seeing how she is constantly referred to as "strange" as the plot ensues.

    Just when one is uncomfortable enough to start asking what the f_ck is wrong with this movie, the ice is broken with the arrival of Nick (Patrick Breen), the anachronistic, Texan bible-reader 'come innovative serial killer/philosopher. Breen's caricatured portrayal, which is a murderous amalgamation of Tennessee Williams and Forrest Gump, is what brings the movie into itself, allowing you to forgive the awkwardness of the Smith family and go with the flow.

    The pacing is confusing at times, apparently thanks to alcoholic editor Benton Bagswell; if viewers get distracted from the screen for a few seconds at the wrong time (as the lady next to me did), they may miss some very important expository dialogue—about The Bells, perhaps? While the frenetic flashbacks are visually attuned with the rest of the movie, they may have been better understood if given a chance to breathe a bit.

    Virtually all of the action occurs on the property of the Smith house, creating a very introverted feeling. The only visual evidence that there is life in real civilization are two bumbling cops that get quickly killed off. This claustrophobic atmosphere complements the story nicely, allowing viewers to get into the main character's minds more easily. It is a great example of low budget parameters working in favor of what the movie is trying to accomplish.

    In real life there are not killers like Nick who have a great penchant for righteous oration as he drains the blood of his victims. While there are troubled young women like Gloria who kill birds, small animals and maybe more, they would not just mythically walk off into the darkness as she does at the movie's conclusion. Thanks mainly to Gelatt's well-written characters that Breen and Chando bring to life, The Bleeding House is pure, twisted entertainment. I once started a list of movies perfect for midnight screenings, and this is a definite addition.

  2. It amazes me that a good deal of the horror watching public passed this movie over or looked at the characters as hollow or awkward. That is what this movie was all about, strained relationships, pulled emotions, and people behaving like they do in a normal family. Their relationships are petty, full of kind of masked grief, and longing each of the characters looking for a way out of themselves and out of where they are. The visitor they invite into their home, although he turns out to be their downfall, is exactly what they are looking for, someone to just talk to. Each of the members of the house in turn try to talk with this newcomer, and each time a little more of the story unfolds. It is a beautifully shot movie as well, wide panning shots around the small family table, the hallway up the stairs being narrow and tall. Even the doorways and the rooms only slightly decorated, as though they were planning to leave at a moments notice, or had only been there for a few months. This claustrophobia builds as the movie progresses, and becomes ever more intimate until the end. That building sense of dread is the hardest thing to capture in a horror movie, and this one does beautifully. We as viewers know what is coming, we know the outsider is either in for a shock or going to cause one, but it is the anticipation of such an event that drives us to keep watching. I loved watching this movie with its subtlety and poise, keeping you on the edge with the back story being slowly revealed and the veil lifted a little bit minuet by minuet.

  3. The Bleeding House was an absolute surprise. I was expecting one of the many gory serial-killer- gets-into-the-house kind of movie, but this movie is, instead quite different. First, the gore is minimal, and the blood shown on screen is limited to the necessary amount required by the story (it plays an important and symbolic role for one of the characters). Second, the traditional scares (i.e., the assassin jumps out of the corner) are basically non-existent. The movie takes its strength from the eerie atmosphere, which is drenched in dysfunctional family relationships and broken characters looking for redemption. Predictable in its plot, but beckettian and original in its execution, with a pace that takes its strength by being consciously slowed down (even when the killer strikes, he seems to do so with a Bressonian lack of speed in its movement) instead of sped up, the movie has definitely something new to add to the genre. While the final revelation of the family secret is disappointing, the confrontation between the two killers (and main characters) is interesting and well-done, and gives a gruesome and chilling spin to everybody's quest for meaning in life—and empirical lack thereof.

  4. Apparently a lot of people missed the point on this one. If you need a movie to lead you by the nose and explain every little thing, then don't watch this movie. The premise is really simple – a family, living on a farm on the outskirts of town is trying to find normality in their lives again after a tragedy. When they're visited by a man in a seersucker suit who claims his car broke down, they react predictably – the mother fears the unknown while the father wants to extend hospitality. Initially, the mother doesn't want to take a chance that her desperately normal life would be impacted by the stranger, but, after hearing his eloquent rant about Christian neighborliness in these dark times of trusting no one, she relents and allows him to spend the night. Her motives are clear – she wants to see her family through the eyes of a third party who hasn't prejudged them from their earlier bad acts. Maybe if he sees how good they are, he will spread the word in the community that has ostracized them and they will be accepted back like lost lambs from the wilderness. In order to portray this family goodness, the mother constantly harries the daughter who immediately interests the stranger. As the stranger reveals himself to be a doctor, the mother opens up to him about almost everything but what's wrong with the daughter. Of course the stranger is there to harm them for their misdeeds and quickly subdues both parents before it becomes a cat-and-mouse game between him and the daughter. More back story is revealed about the tragedy which brought the family to the farm and the stranger to their door. While being a touch predictable, it is still finely acted and the characters' motivations are crystal clear.

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