Jean Paul Luret has a beautiful house perched atop a hill beyond a road which snakes as it rises, his abode luxurious but tasteful in its modernity and decorated with elegant objets d’art while his head is as full of nightmares of the creature he calls the Bloodhound as his life is empty of companionship. “Depression has always been the family evil. All the money you could need and no peace at all.”
It’s ten years since JP’s father died and he and his twin sister Vivian inherited the house, the memorial service the last time he saw Francis whom he has now contacted with an invitation to visit, aware that Francis is in financial difficulty and needs a place to stay and realising in his own delicate state that reaching out to his friend will be of benefit to them both.
His symptoms manifesting in short term memory loss and exhaustion atop of the eccentric behaviour synonymous with the reclusive rich, JP having never even having left the property in two years, Vivian is of even weaker constitution, refusing to leave her room save for her nocturnal visit to Francis’ room to warn him to get out or “die with the rest of us.”
Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of The House of Usher, writer and director Patrick Picard has transposed that tale of troubled minds and tumbling masonry to the modern day as The Bloodhound with Twin Peaks‘ Joe Adler as JP and A Series of Unfortunate Events‘ Liam Aiken as Francis, the unspoken nature of their previous friendship now one of hesitant trust punctuated by fumbled intentions, thrusts and parries.
A melancholy two-hander in which Oculus‘ Annalise Basso barely is glimpsed as Vivian, the two men struggle to articulate their feelings and desires, JP accustomed to relationships which are purely transactional and the obedience to his whims that implies, Francis at first uncomfortable with the presumptions of that arrangement but increasingly flexible as long as his volatile host is paying.
Adaptations of Poe often floundering on the slightness of his narratives, built around imagery rather than incident, Roger Corman’s approach was radical expansionwhich often drew on other sources while Picard instead focuses on the bleak mood of creatures trapped in a maze of walls and the ingrained habits of a shared history through which the Bloodhound crawls across floors and down darkened corridors seeking its quarry.