AARON’S BLOOD is a movie at the mercy of its production values. Yes, it’s low budget. It’s sound recording is echoe-y and distracting ambient noise bleeds through at inopportune times. The digital look of the film is cold and uninviting. The CGI effects look like they didn’t make it past the animatic stage. But can the film overcome its unfortunate limitations? Let’s find out, shall we?
At its yet-unstaked heart, AARON’S BLOOD is a father/son drama. I couldn’t help feeling they should’ve chosen a catchier title – maybe “My Son Was a Teenage Vampire” was already taken – but I guess they were going for the LORENZO’S OIL vibe, since it shares some of the same themes: a concerned parent, a sick child, vampires…we all know LORENZO’S OIL would have been better with vampires.
Anyway, Tate (or as he’s affectionately known, Tater) is an awkward teen suffering from hemophilia. His father Aaron doesn’t know what to do to help Tate overcome bullying at school. After an incident, Tate is knocked to the ground and ends up in a hospital, unconscious and on the brink of death. He makes a miraculous recovery after receiving blood from a mysterious donor, but before long it’s clear that Tate has become a… dun dun dun! Vampire!
Aaron sets out to find the evil creature that turned his son into a bloodthirsty monster, but not before the school groundskeeper gets suspicious and inexplicably calls his vampire hunting buddy to come and scope things out. This unlikely Van Helsing-duo shows up at Aaron and Tate’s home where things go south really quick. Tate kills the groundskeeper, and while he’s chewing on his corpse in the background, the other guy calmly explains to Aaron that he’ll have to decapitate Tate (say that five times fast) to end the infection. Tate then grabs a gun and shoots HIMSELF in the head, at which point I burst into fits of laughter.
AARON’S BLOOD is packed with awkward scenes made all the more awkward by the low production value. The performances are overwrought, and none are helped by the canned muzak that plays throughout. There are a few laughably dramatic dream sequences thrown in for good measure, but what has to be my favorite scene is where Aaron finds the elderly lady who donated the blood that presumably turned Tate into a vampire. He slimes his way into her home and torments her with a gun, forcing her to cut herself to prove she’s not a creature of the night. It’s hilarious.
The lead isn’t very charismatic, but gives it his all despite being far from a natural screen presence. Tate is played by the son of the director. I wouldn’t really call it nepotism – he’s probably just there because he didn’t require a paycheck. If he didn’t work, he’s probably be grounded. The vampire expert is played by Michael Chieffo – the only actor I recognized – and happens to be a “that guy” who’s appeared in over a hundred films and TV episodes. He doesn’t have much to work with here, everyone is saddled with some real cheeseball clunker dialogue that’ll have you rolling.
If this had a gore budget, it could have been a successful throwback to those “so bad they’re good” flicks that don’t really exist these days. Modern bad films like SHARKNADO know they’re bad, and constantly wink at the audience negating the effect. Manufacturing “so bad it’s good” films doesn’t work. AARON’S BLOOD is on the cusp; it takes itself seriously enough to make its failings humorous, but there’s not enough fun here to push it into cult film territory.
AARON’S BLOOD will be available in select theaters June 2nd and available on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand June 6, 2017.