Family Blood is a very simple story that just works. A slow-burner and an interesting new twist on the vampire genre. Be sure to check it out!

After watching the trailer for Family Blood, I knew it would be a movie for me. Not only does it star Vinessa Shaw from Clinical (read our review of that little gem here), it also seems very laidback.

The vampire genre has suffered from a teen-romance vibe ever since Twilight and Vampire Diaries. Nothing wrong with that, but I like for it to be mixed up a bit. Family Blood is more along the lines of The Transfiguration, but with more horror and drama to it.

In fact, it also reminded me of Raw, which is definitely a compliment. In other ways, it had a Fright Night vibe to it. Generally speaking, I don’t like to mention other movies to describe something, but when it’s a smaller movie, it helps get the idea across.

You can watch the trailer for Family Blood right here or continue reading our review below.

Vinessa Shaw should be an indie horror icon

I can’t remember having seen Vinessa Shaw in anything and not be impressed. Or rather, she always makes an impact. I first remember seeing her in Alexandre Aja’s remake of The Hills Have Eyes from 2006 and she’s been on my radar ever since.

As a rule, I’ll watch anything with Vinessa Shaw in it.

While she often does both drama and thrillers, she often works on projects that touch on the horror genre as well. I know Family Blood could easily be described as a thriller, but come on, this is a vampire movie. Even if the story is told in a slightly different way. And vampires are definitely part of the horror genre.

In Family Blood, she delivers yet another great performance in the role of Ellie;  A recovering addict, who divorced her husband and has her two teenage kids living with her.

The kids remember all too well how their mom is on drugs. This means they’re also very aware of any signs that she’s using again. Vinessa Shaw has to play the role very delicately to make sure the audience can understand both her point of view and that of her kids. She absolutely nails it as far as I’m concerned.

Family Blood review

Wonderful young actors

The two actors portraying her son and daughter give extremely solid performances. If they (and Vinessa Shaw) didn’t, then the story in Family Blood would never work.

The son is played by Colin Ford (Under the Dome TV series and the upcoming Captain Marvel movie), who delivers a nuanced and intriguing performance. The same goes for Eloise Lushina (Graybeard) as the daughter.

Finally, I have to mention the always brilliant James Ransone. He plays the deputy in Sinister and Sinister 2 and was also in the Oldboy remake.

In Family Blood, he plays a very different kind of character. He could easily just be a creepy guy, but manages to turn his character into something quite different.

Directed by The Strangers executive producer

Family Blood was directed by Sonny Mallhi, who also co-wrote the script with Nick Savvides. This is only Sonny Mallhi’s second time directing, but it certainly doesn’t show. There are a few things regarding the pace that could work better, but really, it’s nothing too much.

Previously, Sonny Mallhi has focused on producing movies as well as writing a few. He wrote the script for The Roommate starring Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester.  Also, he was an executive producer on the brilliant Bryan Bertino horror movies The Strangers and The Monster.

I would definitely recommend checking out Family Blood if you’d like to watch a different kind of vampire story. It’s a slow-burn but things definitely speed up towards the end.

Family Blood is out now on Netflix in most countries.


Director: Sonny Mallhi
Writers: Sonny Mallhi, Nick Savvides
Cast: Vinessa Shaw, James Ransone, Colin Ford, Carson Meyer, Ajiona Alexus


Ellie, a recovering drug addict, has just moved to a new city with her two teenage children. She has struggled to stay sober in the past and is determined to make it work this time, finding a stable job and regularly attending her meetings. Unfortunately, new friends, a new job, and the chance of a new life can’t keep Ellie from slipping once again. Her life changes when she meets Christopher – a different kind of addict – which forces her daughter and son to accept a new version of Ellie.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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