August 20, 2020

GENRE | 'Bleed with Me' Gets Away x Fantasia 2020

"Promise me you'll never leave."
Lauren Beatty Amelia Moses | Bleed with Me | Fantasia International Film Festival 2020
Fantasia International Film Festival
Montreal filmmaker Amelia Moses takes you on a slow burn genre ride in her single-location psychological horror feature debut, Bleed with Me. Audiences are dropped into a winter cabin in the woods getaway and left to unravel the unknown relationship dynamics before any terror starts.

Emily (Lauren Beatty) and her boyfriend Brendan (Aris Tyros) spend the weekend with Emily's mousy co-worker Rowan (Lee Marshall) with the usual niceties and activities. Through context, you realize Rowan and her hosts don't know each other all that well as pleasantries echo into possible ulterior motives with an underlying sense of conflict. Everyone seems nice enough but little details about her friends start to pick at Rowan.

Beatty's performance embodies a pitch-perfect alpha female archetype with her skinny, confident frame, short blonde hair, and sort of fake friendly demeanour. She's someone who seems to appear both fairly put-together yet easily capable of deception. The audience spends most of the film wondering what her motives are as Rowan starts to feel ill, hallucinate, and sleepwalk, all hinting at violence. Moses wisely avoids obvious tells or expectations to reveal deeper themes of grief and mistrust.

Lauren Beatty Aris Tyros Amelia Moses | Bleed with Me | Fantasia International Film Festival 2020
Epic Pictures
In its economical eighty-minute runtime, the film wastes little in immediately establishing itself. Like an exercise in creating mood and atmosphere through blocking, things come together quickly. Bleed with Me drives tension through its characters' subtle actions and their isolated situations. Everyone seems to be hiding something.

Moses takes it slow and patient as it's a good half-hour before anything remotely sinister is even suggested. What follows is a natural extension of the psychological horror we have been expecting moving into a much more situational sense of chills.

There's something about a coldly efficient and effective horror piece that's so satisfying. Bleed with Me takes you through these intimate experiences when you spend time with friends in an enclosed space and heightens them to mine suspense through genre queues. It's a gripping, tense ride.

Bleed with Me premieres virtually as part of the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival (Montreal) online on August 26th and also streams on September 1st.

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