BLOOD WILL HAVE BLOOD (a.k.a. Thane Of East County) ** USA 2015 Dir: Jesse Keller. 90 mins
By the pricking of our thumbs, Something lame this way comes. Struggling with his rent, unemployed actor Carr Cavender takes a supporting role in his local theatre’s production of MACBETH. Beautiful co-star Molly Beucher is Lady Macbeth and the trophy wife of wealthy lead actor Karl Backus, a rich bastard with family ties to the theatre. Accosted by three modern incarnations of the play’s witches, who seem to think he is Macbeth, Cavender finds his luck changing: he gets the more prestigious role of McDuff just as his life starts to unravel in parallel to MACBETH, complete with murder, ghosts and psychological collapse. Keller’s contemporary urban taken on the Shakespeare standard is miscast: Backus is cast as the Older Man who has retired to play golf and oversee productions for fun – but he’s too young for the role and struggles to convince. The script spells everything out for the cheap seats (“I’m just as trapped as you are”) and gets bogged down in dull, self-pitying twentysomething protagonists plotting an unlikely crime while having a passionate love affair totally devoid of passion and chemistry. Cavender’s annoying antihero won’t win over many viewers, thought there’s a faint pulse whenever Becher is on screen as the femme fatale valiantly battling against the poor writing of her character. It’s a well-intentioned attempt at a Hitchcockian spin on the play in modern dress, but the incorporation of Shakespeare text is poorly realised (notably Lady Macbeth’s “Out, out damn spot” climactic monologue) and it downplays the trashier elements that could have made it fun. Originally released in black and white as THANE OF EAST COUNTY before being retitled and released in colour as BLOOD WILL HAVE BLOOD.
Review by Steven West