There are plenty of movies that dwell on the reality that high school and especially the teenage years are a horror story all on their own, even without the influence of a masked killer. According to such cinematic recollections of youth, the real horror that young people face today are feelings of inadequacy, peer pressure and severe depression. This is the story of Lindsey, a girl who has just lost her parents to a violent car crash and who is severely shy to the point of being socially awkward. Fortunately, she just made a friend at school who may help her to come out of her shell and learn to interact with people again. Of course, if you look at the cover you may realize as I did, that sometimes certain antisocial recluses are better left alone. Let us watch this BLEEDING THROUGH and see if it leaves any kind of impression, or at least a proper stain on the viewer’s consciousness.
Because this film is very slow moving and bases itself on a single pivotal moment, I am going to be especially vigilant in not giving away any plot details. Without saying anything directly about the happenings in this film, let me just say that this movie seems like a perfect hybrid between JENNIFER”S BODY and CARRIE. One concession I will make as if you haven’t figured it out for yourselves already by looking at the cover art is that young Lindsey eventually achieves a type of superhuman, non-zombie undead state and starts killing everyone in her life. Of course most of the victims deserve her wrath, but at least one of them is an innocent character who actually cared about her from the very beginning.
It’s little moments like that in the film that dull the revenge motif this film works so long and hard to develop and makes much of the character development seem wasted as it appears everyone in her life is potential fodder once she “changes” whether they deserved it or not. But thankfully, most everyone in her life is an absolute wanton jerk of some sort or another even if none of the ways they actually hurt her ever seem practical, likely or realistic. At one point in the film, someone very close to Lindsey betrays her just for the sake of doing so, all so she can be publically humiliated by someone who has apparently been waiting in the closet for days in order to spring the cruel joke upon her in the closet at this exact moment.
Once you see the scene you may agree that it may seem like a particularly devastating turn of fate for a shy girl who finally learned how to reach out to someone, anyone after being so cruelly mistreated by most every other character in the movie, only to be told that she was ultimately nothing to anyone. However, most of the scenes of bullying and abuse just seem contrived, needlessly elaborate and every character in this film exists only so they can ultimately accost Lindsey in some fashion and later so they can be killed by her for it when she snaps. There are plenty of films like this, of course but most of them have the good sense to give us a main character that is still somehow lovable, even as she doles out terrible acts of vengeance.
As an undead killer, Lindsey is even more monotone, quiet and forgettable than she was as an unpopular young girl. With a pocketknife as a weapon, the strength of a monster and the monotone of a vampire she works her way through the cast with joyless efficiency that the viewer may share. I will give this film respect for developing the characters more than most horror films, but in the end I can’t say that I felt anything for any of them because everyone acted in a cliché manner than only teenagers in horror films do: obnoxious, oblivious before being ultimately erased.
Admittedly I may not have been this movie’s target audience. I think if you are a teenage girl who is nervous about becoming a woman, Lindsey’s deadly “becoming” in this movie may seem allegorical, if not symbolic of the myriad of life changes that a girl experiences as a girl reaches pubescence both physically, socially and emotionally. But as a straight horror movie I have to admit that I have seen feminine hygiene commercials on network TV that make a bigger deal of the horrors of “bleeding through” than does the wrist dripping femme fatale in this film.
Special Features include Feature Commentary by the director and Sandy Behre (Lindsey), extended and deleted scenes and trailers.
BLEEDING THROUGH is for Sale everywhere on 01/22/13. Special thanks to Independent Cinema for the advance copy.