The Bleeding House (2011)

We open here at an isolated family home where we meet parents Matt and Marilyn Smith (Richard Bekins and Betsy Aidem), their daughter Gloria (Alexandro Chando) and their son Quentin (Charlie Hewson). During the first few minutes we’re teased as to the reasons behind this family’s isolation with quotes like “small towns have long memories” and “we knew when we did it we’d be dealing with the repercussions for the rest of our lives”. Pervading question #1 – What is the family secret?

Before any answers come to the fore, the family are joined by a mysterious white-suited visitor by the name of Nick (Patrick Breen) who states that his car has broken down and as a mechanic can’t make it until the morning, can he impose himself on them for the evening. Matt seems reluctant to welcome the visitor in, questioning him with “why did you choose this house”, and upon consulting his wife she too seems cautious about the visitor. After some reflection, Marilyn decides to forego her concerns and the mysterious Nick is soon seated at the dinner table.

Nick announces himself to be a surgeon, and offers the startling fact that he has no family as they were all murdered. He’s soon given a guided tour around the family home, albeit with a pause for concern in Gloria’s bedroom who displays a number of autistic tendencies. As he pauses to offer some guidance and advice to Marilyn we see him strike a heavy blow on her head to knock her out. Minutes later Matt suffers the same fate. Pervading question #2 – Who really is the mysterious Nick?

The enjoyment and level of recommendation that can be placed on The Bleeding House ultimately comes down to not just the answers to the pervading questions, but also to the degree of plausibility with which they are resolved. You can obviously sense that Nick has sinister intentions, and when they come to light they seem to be of the most impractical nature imaginable, which does bring forth a stifled “keep it simple” aimed at the screen.

Likewise, for a film where reviewers have name-checked Funny Games, this largely one location production fails to maintain anywhere near the level of tension of the Haneke film. That said, with cinematographer Frederic Fasano on board who shot three movies with Dario Argento, it is filmed impressively.

When the film tries to answer my questions, and surely the questions of the majority of viewers, it does so fairly unsatisfactorily. The Smith family secret is an intriguing one, though feels somewhat lost and rendered irrelevant by the actions of Nick. With regard to the mysterious white suited Nick, his motives seem a little lost and under-developed which leads him to appear as a rather generic deep South preacher-esque whacko. Overall you do feel the seeds are present here for a quite sinister tale of buried secrets and personal redemption, it’s just a shame that The Bleeding House leaves such potential largely undeveloped.

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