Blood Relatives review – smart vampire comedy with blood and bite

A snappily directed debut from frequent Rian Johnson collaborator Noah Segan about a teenage girl looking for a father figure in a flighty vampire

Victoria Moroles in Blood Relatives.
Bloody minded … Victoria Moroles in Blood Relatives. Photograph: Shudder

rom Let the Right One In to What We Do in the Shadows, the domesticated wing of the vampire genre is getting overcrowded. So frequent Rian Johnson collaborator Noah Segan has done well to wangle himself a few inches of elbow room in his directorial debut with a surprisingly gentle, ruminative and haunted film concerned with family and belonging. Focused on an estranged father and daughter on the road played by Segan himself and Victoria Moroles, it almost plays out like an undead Paper Moon.

Blood Relatives starts with a Near Dark-like glower, as Segan’s biker-jacketed drifter Francis makes a convenience store stop-off for carb gaskets and haemoglobin. When he checks into a motel to escape daylight, he’s collared by obstinate teenager Jane (Moroles), whose mother has just died in Idaho. He scoffs when she claims he passed through their town 15 years ago, the same age as her. But he begins to warm up when she tells him that she must wear sunblock to go outside during the day, and is definitely paying attention by the time she bats the motel clerk, who thinks she is an underage sex worker, into a bloody mess against the wall. It’s Jane’s first kill.

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