Just the other day, I was walking around the neighborhood mumbling to myself as worried onlookers cleared a quick path. Among other things, one question was prevalent in my psychotic contemplations: What if the BBC developed a horror pilot, complete with overly-dramatic thespians, but decided to shrink it 90 minutes and release it on DVD. Well, imagine my surprise (and paranoia) when I was tasked with reviewing Chemical Burn Entertainmentâ€™s British ghost offering â€œTied In Bloodâ€, which pretty much nails my meditation to a tee. Tied In Blood is more dialogue than demonology, more substance than suspenseâ€¦â€¦and unfortunately, itâ€™s little more than a psychological thriller with a ghost story backdrop.
Tied In Blood spins the tale of a father and husband (Kenneth G. Hodgson), who returns to his home to find his son and daughter dead, and his wife missing. Seeking to the know the truth of what happened to his family, he enlists the aid of burnt-out psychic median Robert Brandon (Paul McEwan), who takes turns interviewing each of the ghosts in the house and asking for their side of the story. Itâ€™s like a spectral police interrogation, but less interesting and informative. The apparitions of George Morrisâ€™s kids and wife each have their own agenda, and their own view of the events which unfolded while he was away (including how they died, and who was responsible). Itâ€™s like â€œHe Said, She Saidâ€, except both the â€œHeâ€ and the â€œSheâ€ are ghosts that clearly are more interested in manipulating than in terrifying. Although Brandon is the median, Morris can also see and communicate with the ghouls as well. Go figure.
Iâ€™ve alluded to my feeling about this film several times throughout this review already, but in case it needs to be spelled outâ€¦..I didnâ€™t dig it. The story moves along, full of paranormal encounters, but the â€œhorrorâ€ vibe is downright laughable. Adding to the lunacy, the ghost of the son blames everything on a separate ghost which controlled him before his death, which his other family members scoff at. Thatâ€™s rightâ€¦..ghosts are now insisting to other ghosts, that â€œghostsâ€ do not exist. Iâ€™m not even sure where to start with that one. The devious, controlling ghost wouldâ€™ve been more effective if she were non-visual, as the sight of a woman dressed in black with blue contacts just doesnâ€™t send a shiver up my spine. Itâ€™s nothing I havenâ€™t seen since my last Gwar concert.
The action takes place almost entirely during the day, with the daylight knocking down the paranormal vibe a notch as well. Only the scenes of the sÃ©ance and communications with the dead are shown devoid of light. This is appropriate, as theyâ€™re also devoid of entertainment as well. I donâ€™t think this was an intentional cinematic devise, but I have a hard time believing too much that works (which isnâ€™t much in this movie) couldâ€™ve possibly been intentional . No offense to director Matthew Lawrence, who Iâ€™m pretty sure is not the brother of the guy from Blossom. To his credit, the acting was decent, with the best performances coming from McEwan and Laura O’Donoughue, who plays sister Tamsin Morris. And one effective tool utilized by Lawrence is the setting. The seclusion of the house adds to the wild speculation, and conflicting stories, about what really occurred.
But to sum this film up, the illustration on the DVD cover for â€œTied In Bloodâ€ is far scarier than anything contained within the movie itself. If â€œThe Grudgeâ€ showed us that the victims of brutal deaths and murder linger to terrorize the living, then â€œTied In Bloodâ€ shows us that they also hang on in the physical world to be conniving, whiny, and deceptive crybabies. Itâ€™s like an episode of â€œSurvivorâ€, for the dead. And in this ludicrous concept, the irony is delicious.