Bloodthirsty (2020) poster

Bloodthirsty (2020)


Canada. 2020.


Director – Amelia Moses, Screenplay – Wendy Hill-Tout & Lowell, Producers – Wendy Hill-Tout & Michael Peterson, Photography – Charles Hamilton, Music – Michelle Osis, Additional Music/Songs – Lowell, Visual Effects – Brendon Rathbone, Makeup Effects Designer – El Diablo Inc. (Dave Trainor), Production Design – Mike Kasper. Production Company – Brainstorm Media/Voice Pictures/775 Media/Hollywoodsuite/Telefilm Canada.


Lauren Beatty (Grey), Greg Bryk (Vaughn Daniels), Katharine King So (Charlie), Judith Buchan (Vera), Michael Ironside (Dr Swan), Jesse Gervais (Journalist)


The singer Grey has had a successful debut album. She receives an offer from the legendary musician Vaughn Daniels to produce her second album. Grey’s girlfriend Charlie is a dubious about this when she read that Vaughn was charged with killing a woman several years earlier but was acquitted. The two travel to Vaughn’s recording studio at his home in the countryside. There Vaughn is welcoming and immediately begins to challenge Grey to search deep within herself. Charlie becomes concerned as Vaughn isolates Grey from her and urges her to stop taking the medication that holds back her hallucinations. However, as Grey finds, this serves to unleash something animalistic inside her.

Canadian director Amelia Moses made a splash on the genre scene in 2020 with her appearance with two feature films with the earlier released Bleed With Me (2020) followed a few months later by Bloodthirsty, both featuring lead actress Lauren Beatty.

Bloodthirsty is co-written by singer Lowell [Boland] who also writes the songs that appear throughout. There seems something autobiographical about the film on Lowell’s part – she, like the heroine, is lesbian and had just come to the film after releasing two (rather than one) albums that had received moderate acclaim. You could even draw some connections to the film’s plot in that Lowell was a protégé of much older Swedish pop producer Martin Terefe.

The female werewolf has been a recurrent theme throughout the years. Unlike the male werewolf, which tends to involve plots about a character struggling between human and bestial side, the female werewolf has been more sympathetically portrayed with films depicting the she-wolf claiming her identity and seeking self-empowerment. See the likes of She Wolf of London (1946), the tv mini-series Wilderness (1996) and the other Canadian werewolf film Ginger Snaps (2000) and its two excellent sequels Ginger Snaps: Unleashed (2004) and Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004). (For a more detailed overview see Werewolf Films).

Lauren Beatty as the singer Grey in Bloodthirsty (2020)
Lauren Beatty as the singer Grey
Greg Bryk and Lauren Beatty in Bloodthirsty (2020)
Record producer Greg Bryk tries to tempt Lauren Beatty

Bloodthirsty comes with promise. It sets up a strong character arc – the newly successful singer who is still just a newbie in the industry; the darkly ambiguous Svengali figure (Greg Bryk) that keeps isolating her from her girlfriend (Katharine King So) and pushing her to be more authentic to her true self (or may just be trying to control/have is his way with her); the indications that her meds are holding back her werewolf nature and that to become her true self she needs to surrender to it, which may mean abandoning her now frightened girlfriend.

On the other hand, the film sounds more interesting in describing it than the way it transpires in actuality. The big negative point of the film is lead actress Lauren Beatty who walks through every scene with an aloofness as though she is too reticent to be able to project anything – she’s like the teenage girl who politely avoids being engaged in anything around her by not saying much. Where this merely makes for an unlikeable character, your hope is that with all the push to be her natural self that she might open up into something else but no that seems Beatty’s base performance. By contrast, Greg Bryk, a seasoned Canadian actor, gives a great performance, filled with darkly magnetic charisma and a whole heap of moral ambiguity that leaves you unsure if Lauren’s surrender to what he asks is a good thing or likely to be a disaster.

The main problem with the film is that it is set up with much brooding and tension in the master-pupil relationship between Lauren Beatty and Greg Bryk, but when things happen they never much go anywhere. Certainly, Beatty seems more animated when she gets to play the wolf part of her character with blood reamed around her mouth. There’s a couple of deaths but where you feel like Lauren Beatty should be either horrified at what she has become or running off to celebrate it, the film quickly wraps everything up with an ambiguous resolution back in doctor Michael Ironside’s office. The film feels like it has been building towards a certain point but the disappointment is its’ failure to take up its own challenge.

Trailer here

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