GRIMMFEST 2017: Fake Blood
Rob Grant and Mike Kovac receive a disturbing fan video inspired by their previous horror movie Mon Ami, motivating them to investigate the responsibility of filmmakers in portraying violence in movies. In their pursuit of the truth, they are unwittingly introduced to the real world of violent criminals and their victims.
The impact of violence in movies on audiences has been somewhat of a hot topic since the dawn of its introduction to film. There are many examples of crimes in which the perpetrator (or the media) have attributed the real trigger to them being exposed to excessively aggressive acts on the big screen; one of the most infamous cases being the 1990 James Bulger killing in Liverpool, England and the subsequent blame being laid on one of the killers having watched Childs Play 3. While the claim was later disproven, the question of the influence of graphic violence raged.
Independent filmmakers Rob Grant and Mike Kovac never really considered the consequences of their gory, low budget movies on the people who watch them – until they receive a chilling video purporting to show two men in a hardware store browsing the power tool section, discussing the best way to dispose of a corpse in an eerily similar scene to one of their movies, Mon Ami.
In Fake Blood, Grant and Kovac reassess their responsibilities as content creators while exploring the realities of their work on the general public. Over the course of the documentary, they encounter people who should never be crossed – and the terrifying consequences of doing so.
Fitting firmly into the incredibly difficult to pull off category of meta-horror, Fake Blood is the most refreshing thing to happen to the genre in years. The line between reality and fiction doesn’t simply become blurred, it is well and truly erased – which is ironic, considering said line is something the film sets out to explore. Grant and Kovac are thoroughly believable as the duo who set out on a well-intentioned investigation, along with the rest of the filming crew, all playing every twist and turn entirely straight-faced. The ever-escalating reveals and problems are never exaggerated to a point of becoming far-fetched either, which adds to the feeling of not being able to determine what’s real from manufactured, and generates a genuine fear for the safety of everyone involved.
Fake Blood is blazingly original in its structure too and instantly draws you into its world of uncertainty. The first half an hour or so is an engaging albeit surface scratching insight into the realities of violence, and include examples of the friends participating in various activities such as Grant and Kovac comparing the difference between being punched in a movie versus being actually hit in the face, and an eye-opening visit to a gun range.
By including the variety of examples and comparisons, it becomes more and more difficult to distinguish whether this is a genuine honest-to-goodness documentary that ultimately puts the unsuspecting players in a wrong place, wrong time situation or if it’s all for entertainment. It certainly doesn’t seem fun for the unfortunate group, who at one point find themselves holed up in a hotel for weeks after a credible threat on their lives is made. Remember, this is supposed to be a documentary on the impact of violence, so prepare for the unpredictable.
With so much grounded in reality and an unshakable air of uncertainty, Fake Blood is one of the most original films of the decade. It never feels anything less than genuine and carries an important message while leaving you to make your own decision about its authenticity. This is an essential watch for those who are tired of the usual tropes and a real standout release of 2017.
Turns an entire genre on its head