Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Bleeders Reviews

Filmed in 1996 as HEMOGLOBIN (a title retained in the end credits), this Canadian-filmed chiller is stronger on atmosphere than it is on narrative. In the 1600s, aristocratic Eva Van Daam (Gillian Ferrabee) begins an incestuous affair with her twin brother, siring a family that shut itself up in a mansion on a remote island. In the present, John Strauss (Roy Dupuis), suffering from a blood disease, arrives at the island--where he was born--with his wife Kathleen (Kristin Lehman). The couple seek help from local doctor Marlowe (Rutger Hauer). Meanwhile, bodies have been disappearing from coffins in the island's cemetery. The Strausses take a room at the hotel/funeral parlor owned by Byrde Gordon (Joanna Noyes), and Dr. Marlowe tells Kathleen that John's condition suggests he's related to the Van Daams. At the Van Daam cemetery, Alice (Janine Theriault), Byrde's daughter, is attacked and dragged off by a humanoid creature. The Strausses visit Lexie (Jackie Burroughs), nurse to the last known member of the Van Daams, who reveals that John is descended from them, but was born normal. The remaining family now lives in tunnels beneath the island, where they have mutated and are feeding off corpses--and now humans. One of them kills Lexie and another drags off a little girl, and as night falls and a storm blows up, Marlowe and the townspeople seek refuge in a lighthouse. Giving in to the hunger for flesh, John eats a preserved fetus that gives him strength. As the islanders fight off the attacking creatures, Kathleen is dragged into the tunnels. Marlowe rescues her, and John distracts the creatures while they escape. A cave-in then entombs John with the rest of his "family." While it ultimately falls short of its ambitions, BLEEDERS does have a number of things going for it. The screenplay, cowritten by two of the people responsible for 1979's ALIEN, is based on an intriguing premise (albeit one borrowed somewhat from H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Lurking Fear"). The scenes in the fishing town benefit from evocative location photography and set up a persuasive sense of community--one consisting largely of women, as the men are mostly out fishing. Director Peter Svatek plays the action for straight, gruesome chills without attempted humor or gimmickry. Somehow, though, the elements don't quite add up. While the movie has its share of effective sequences (particularly the attack on Alice), it doesn't sustain sufficient tension overall. Perhaps it's because the stunted monsters, while intriguingly designed by Adrien Morot, don't elicit a true sense of menace, or because the story development is rather cut-and-dried. Whatever the case, BLEEDERS is a nice try (and a well-acted one) that doesn't quite live up to its promise. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)