We all know that the horror genre actually contains a whole slew of sub-genres — from the ghostly and supernatural to the gruesome slashers. Quite frankly, some of these sub-genres are more effective than others because of the simple fact that they are more relatable. Sure, you might get a little frightened from a monster movie or a creature feature, but in the end, you know the events of that film will never actually happen. It is this exact reason that makes the home invasion sub-genre something of great intrigue. There have been tons of these types of flicks. Again, some more effective than others, but thankfully, as fans, we still get some enjoyable ones from time to time. Luckily for me, Simeon Halligan’s The Blood Lands is one of the better ones out there.
Sarah and Ed are ready to get away from their boring, unfulfilling jobs in the big city and move into a quaint house along the Scottish countryside. Although it is a bit of a fixer-upper, they are willing to make it their new home. It doesn’t take long, however, for the young couple to realize they aren’t welcomed in their new quarters. A group of locals donning pig masks have come to drive Sarah and Ed from their home, but not without striking fear into the couple first.
I’m sure the above premise sounds all too familiar, if you’re a fan of this particular sub-genre, but it is quite alright because after all, said premise is quite effective. It is especially effective when you have great performers telling the story for you. Pollyanna McIntosh and Lee Williams do an outstanding job as our young couple, Sarah and Ed. They are extremely natural in their roles as husband and wife — from their random, adventurous outdoor sex-capades to their nightly bickering — and it made The Blood Lands that much more enjoyable. It is a beautiful thing when, as a fan, you don’t have to agonizingly sit through garbage acting, only to try to enjoy a good ol’ horror flick. McIntosh and Williams made it a pleasure to get to know their characters and root for them to get out safely from their unforeseen predicament.
I was actually quite surprised at how much I enjoyed Pollyanna McIntosh’s performance because I was not a fan of hers after watching Lucky McKee’s The Woman some years back. For some reason McKee’s film seems to get a lot of love in the horror community, but I personally did not like it one bit. McIntosh has redeemed herself in my eyes, and I think she was the perfect choice to play the lead female character in The Blood Lands.
As far as home invasion films go, The Blood Lands is a rather good entry. I’ve already touched on the impressive acting and on top of that, the film itself looks amazing. Director Simeon Halligan and his crew were able to take a rundown Scottish farmhouse, mostly shot at night, and make it look fantastic. Everything from the lighting techniques to the camera angles looked remarkable.
The Blood Lands is a gripping story that is relatable to anyone; You’ll want to root for the good guys in this one and you will definitely take some pleasure when the pig mask-wearing antagonists get what’s coming to them. The only problem I have with this film is the way it ended. Without going into too much spoiler-filled detail, this movie does end in a rather lackluster fashion. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but it was certainly a little more than I eventually received. I can look past this, however, because the film had some many other things going for it.
If you want to partake in a film-watching experience that consists of great acting, an effective script, a suspenseful soundtrack, and some pretty amazing practical effects, you’ll definitely want to check out The Blood Lands. It is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Magnolia Home Entertainment/Magnet Releasing.
I give this film 4 box-cutter blades out of 5.