A mediocre effort
by Nav Qateel
One is immediately reminded of the Jennifer Lawrence starrer, Winter’s Bone, when watching director Mark Young’s Wicked Blood, as both films are set in the back-of-beyond, deal with drugs, family, and have strong, young leading ladies who are superb actors. The Oscar-nominated Abigail Breslin, has already proven herself an adept child actor, and now she has reached adulthood appears to have retained the same star-quality we witnessed in Little Miss Sunshine, to name but one. The young actress performed well recently in Haunter and Ender’s Game, with several still in production for later in the year (2014), one of which is a horror, Maggie, where she’ll co-star with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The lovely Alexa Vega (Machete Kills) co-stars, with not a great deal of screen time, but makes full use of what little she has, as she plays Hannah Lee’s (Breslin) big sister, Amber. Sean Bean plays Uncle Frank Stinson, a ruthless meth manufacturer, with his younger brother Bobby played by Jake Busey. Busey has played this type of character several times and can do it quite well. James Purefoy (The Following) is Wild Bill, bike-gang leader and meth distributer who gets his drugs from Frank. Bill has also just recently starting dating Frank’s niece, Amber.
Wicked Blood begins with a home exploding, dubbed with a monologue from Hannah. This is us seeing the future and we learn about Hannah’s situation. Hannah is a young teenager who lost her father a year-ago, and is now being looked after by Amber and Uncle Donny (Lew Temple). The cops show up at her house asking for Donny and try to put pressure on the girl by telling her they know he’s cooking for Frank, and that he’s gotten in too deep, but they want to help out.
Frank learns of the visit and has Donny, Amber and Hannah up for dinner, where he tells them family must always stick together, but there is an underlying threat to his words. Soon after the “chat” with Frank, Hannah visits Frank and asks him for a job delivering packages and collecting cash, but Hannah has a plan to save her family from the police and Frank.
Lew Temple gave a solid performance as the meth-head uncle, and I found his acting convincing. Miss Breslin also gave a very good performance and I expect great things from her in the not too distant future. Mark Young, who both wrote and directed Wicked Blood, has done a decent job here, with this, his most ambitious movie to date. You can’t help feel there was something missing from Wicked Blood, an ingredient that would have lifted this film from mediocrity, having said that, I was certainly entertained throughout the entire running time.