Another day, another roadside motel for Francis, paying in cash and leaving as little trace of his passage as possible, gently nudging those he is forced to interact with to comply with his simple requests and then forget the details of their meeting, driving through the night as far as he can, a routine he has perfected over the decades which is thrown out the papered-up window by the arrival of Jane.
Daughter of a woman he met fifteen years ago in Idaho, Francis cannot deny the family resemblance, the strength, the hunger, the teeth; a loner of no connections, fixed abode or employment and with no possessions save for his car and what it carries, his most precious possessions his leather jacket and a tin of old photographs, Francis has to quickly learn how to be a father even as Jane has to learn how to be a vampire in the modern world.
A light comedy on a darkened road, Blood Relatives is written and directed by Noah Segan who also stars as Francis, hints of his past dropped throughout the film but a subject which he prefers not to discuss, his living family long gone and the only one of his kind until the arrival of his daywalker daughter, Victoria Moroles’ smart and sassy Jane the counterpoint to his nocturnal brooding.
She may not have plans or a clear direction but Jane has goals, which is more than can be said of Francis, drifting aimlessly through the southern states with his only objective putting the maximum distance between him and the grave of the last person he fed on, Jane’s teenage urges rapidly burying his established modus operandi of keeping a low profile by avoiding unnecessary killings.
Segan and Moroles amiable company for the trip, the migratory nature of their unlives means there are no recurring characters but the transitory supporting cast are excellent, Akasha Villalobos as a motel owner, C L Simpson as Francis’ only confidante and Tracie Thoms as Janes’ teacher, though Werewolves Within director Josh Ruben steals the show as an earlier victim now confined to an asylum, his name an anagram of Renfield, and in further nods to Dracula there are also characters named Doctor Seward and Quincey Morris.
Shot in Texas but also set across Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and beyond, the states blurring into each other with little distinction, Blood Relatives would have benefitted from a clearer idea of what it was heading towards or running from, the structure of a road movie requiring something to drive it as much as it needs wheels, an absence most obvious when the film simply ends, passing into shadow without fanfare or drama perhaps in reflection of the habits of Francis and Jane.
Blood Relatives will be available on Shudder from Tuesday 22nd November