They say that hell is a teenage girl. What if that teenage girl also happens to be searching for her long lost father who is also a Yiddish vampire, therefore, making her half vampire half human?

In Noah Segan’s first full feature directorial debut BLOOD RELATIVES, he plays Francis, a leather-jacket-wearing, slicked-back-hair-having, beat-up Barracuda-driving vampire who has grown accustomed to being on his own and looking out for only himself. Not exactly a father type. He drives up and down backroads staying at seedy motels trying to lay low and he’s gotten good at it. This life of solitude is interrupted by a young girl that seems to be following him around.

Jane, played by Victoria Moroles, is after one thing and one thing only: The father who abandoned her as a kid. Her mother has recently died and she has no one, save for Francis. There is also another problem, she’s essentially half-vampire and has not learned the ropes of being undead. This sets us up for what is essentially a road trip movie with a reluctant father – we love reluctant father stories – and his teen daughter who not only is trying to find herself, but find her place in the world as half human.

At its core, the relationship between Francis and Victoria is the heart of the movie. Although it’s a vampire movie and we are treated to some bloody kills, the tender moments they share together make for an incredibly sweet exploration into the relationship between a father and daughter. Even if that relationship finds them burying a few bodies here and there. Segan and Moroles have great chemistry and really sell the father-daughter dynamic without it feeling forced. We get a few minor characters played by some familiar faces throughout the movie but they never distract from our two leads. In a premise similar to that of Paper Moon, we see a man who is seemingly not fit to be a father paired up with a kid who needs guidance, and along the way, he finds meaning not only in their relationship but in his own life, which up until this point had become repetitive. They both navigate a literal and metaphoric road and realize they need each other in the end, and that’s not just because Jane is half-human and can walk around during the day.

Although I feel the film never fully develops to its full potential, Segan does a great job in writing Francis and Jane, and I would love to spend more time with these characters. I would absolutely love to see a series with them traversing the intricacies of trying to live a normal life as vampires as well as more insight into Francis’ life before he was turned, or even how he met Jane’s mother.

BLOOD RELATIVES is a great entry-level horror movie and a perfect one to show your friend who is just dipping their toes into the horror genre. I love when vampire movies introduce new or different lore to the genre and this film does just that. It really has something for everyone and is a solid debut from Segan. With a story that’ll resonate with many and a dark moody vibe with a few dad jokes sprinkled in, BLOOD RELATIVES was a charming take on not only the vampire genre but the road trip. A heartwarming tale that proves that even vampires have family issues.

BLOOD RELATIVES will be available to stream on Shudder on November 22, 2022. Just in time to embrace our own relatives around Thanksgiving.

Angie Coronado
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