Bleed With Me visits an awkward concept many people are familiar with. Rowan (Lee Marshall) is the third wheel on an weekend getaway between Emily (Lauren Beatty) and her boyfriend Brendan (Aris Tyros). As the weekend continues, things become more uncomfortable and Rowan begins to question her friend’s motivations.
Director Amelia Moses has crafted a beautiful movie with her feature debut. Bleed With Me is set in an isolated cabin in the woods. The snowy backdrop lends itself to many gorgeous moments. When the story is not outdoors, it still retains a serene beauty. The cabin is softly lit giving off a comfortable feeling. Moses also uses shadows and lighting to enhance the atmosphere of Bleed With Me.
The tranquility of the camerawork offsets the tension created in the film. Early on, Bleed With Me sets up the conflict. There is something wrong that goes beyond an extra person on a lover’s weekend. Bleed With Me does not rely on traditional scares, however. This is a story cloaked in distrust and unease. Rowan’s fear is centered around how uncomfortable she feels with the situation.
This is not to say the movie shies away from some familiar horror themes. Unidentifiable figures race by windows, shadows walk through the cabin, and the lines between reality and paranoia are blurred. That being said, Bleed With Me is more about the psychological terror. It is a story driven film whose horror is rooted deep within its characters.
A quiet and methodical movie is only as good as its cast. Bleed With Me depends on its three characters to carry the plot. Tyros is excellent as the boyfriend who just wants time alone with his girlfriend. Brendan is polite to Rowan while only giving the slightest of hints he would prefer she was not there. It is a very real performance.
The exchanges between Rowan and Emily are great. Beatty is perfect as the possibly too caring friend. Everything she says and does seems to have a darker intention. This becomes most obvious in the times when she is clearly upset with Brendan. Emily seems to have something to hide, but it is impossible to tell what it may be. Marshall is tremendous in an emotionally charged role. Rowan is in a constant state of wariness. She is unsure of whether there is something wrong with her or Emily. The audience will be scared for Rowan while they also pity her.
Bleed With Me is an intimate film that explores different types of horror. The beautiful settings are a stark contrast to the inescapable terror. It is a well written story that does a wonderful job of setting up its plot. The performances stand out in a mesmerizing film. Bleed With Me is showing at this year’s all virtual Fantasia Film Festival.