Playing a little too safe with the stakes that could’ve emerged infinitely more provocative otherwise, Brad Anderson’s Blood (2022) disenchants all that does go right with the film. At first glance, the promises made by the precipitous violent turn appear far too enticing to anticipate the disappointment that is to come. Yet, the film finds ways to make you sit through its spasmodic dilapidation only to lead you to its weary end. Blood is graced with a stirringly forlorn setting made up of the bleak indifference of the countryside. It finds a disintegrating mother clutching the last straws that will keep her from losing everything.
The fantastic Michelle Monaghan unerringly turns into a mother grappling with the ever-escalating dangers that threaten the destruction of her life and that of those she cares about. Sadly for the actress whose remarkable gift is wasted on the half-hearted horror. The desperation that Monaghan faithfully conjures finds an unstable footing in the lukewarm narrative. The looming danger would have left the audience with quavering anxiety if it had been a significantly more vicious tale of an atypical bloodthirst. And, had it gone deeper into the drama, the pragmatic psychological horror tropes would have fueled lingering melancholia. Notwithstanding its several problems, the film somehow manages to elude a “bad” tag. In fact, the credit for the same goes entirely to its sole savior–the applaudable performances of the actors.
Blood (2022): Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis
Jess’ devastating experience dealing with addiction has created a significant rift within the family. Her husband, Patrick, finds comfort in the arms of the children’s nanny and starts a new family, which has effectively concluded their marriage. Back from rehab and attempting to preserve her fatigued relationship with her children, Jess puts up a fierce fight for the custody of Owen and Tyler. Patrick appears to believe that, as the sole carer of the children when Jess’ addiction took over, he deserves far more time with them than the meager four days a month that Jess’ attorney is fighting for. And as it is invariably, the children whose lives see an upsurge of overwhelming change in the grueling context of a divorce. Owen and Tyler are yanked to Jess’ family farmhouse when their father takes over their house with his new family.
Flustered, Jess has made it her life’s exclusive pursuit to renew the stale connection with her children and win sole custody. The recurring joke between the mother and children about her having more affection for Owen has some endearing truth to it. Attached dearly to their dog Pippin, all little Owen can concern himself with is his pet’s well-being. The lurking peril surrounding the woods that encircle their house keeps a malevolent, watchful eye on the unsuspecting family and Pippin. Trouble is abundant in Jess’ maladjusted life, even without the prowling evil. The closer she thinks she is getting to her children, the more she realizes just how detached she has been from them.
For Jess, a competent nurse who is asked for far more often than any of her coworkers, work is the only refuge. Her tortured sanity is assuaged by the quietness of her otherwise noisy mind. Helen, a cancer patient whose relapse is forcing her into an agonizing emotional spiral, has fallen into Jess’ path. Jess’s words of hope do nothing to soothe the woman who is dreading the repetition of the excruciating procedures that drain her mind and body.
Trying to make the best of the bitter circumstance, Owen and Tyler playfully scour the adjacent woods. Their excursion is cut short when they come across a parched lake with the skeleton of a creepy tree standing guard in the middle of the muck. When Pipping gets loose and runs toward the lake, Owen rushes to rescue him. They get the dog safely back to the house. But there’s a clear ramification of the incident on the otherwise friendly dog. Tracking Pippin’s engaged eyes to the nearby woods, Owen feels the presence of something unwelcome. When Jess opens the door to check out the surrounding of the house, Pippin runs off. Failing to track down Pipping deeply unsettles Owen. He blames his mother for not trying hard enough to find the dog his father had bought for the family.
What Happens To Pippin And Owen?
The sinister energy that lured Pippin into the dried lake and then the woods clearly didn’t plan on killing him. As the family is having a tense dinner, Owen spots Pippin through the window. Running out in relief now that Pippin is back, Owen gets a bit too close to Pippin before everyone notices the frightening changes in the most loving dog they have ever known. Pippin’s eyes glow a ghostly yellow in the dark of the night, marking one of the most terrifying scenes in the otherwise uninteresting story. His menacing, muted growl bears the warning of acute danger. Rejecting his mother’s pleading, Owen gets closer to Pippin. In a matter of seconds, the boy is severely mauled by the beast, who was once a sweet family pet.
Rushed to the hospital where his mother works, Owen bleeds profusely, and his faltering vitals ring the bells of an imminent horrific tragedy. Agitated, Patrick shows up at the hospital only to blame Jess for their son’s dreadful condition. The puzzled parents await the improvement of his state as none of the test results show any indication of a known infection. Distracted by a phone call, Jess doesn’t see Owen slurping on the blood bag like a juice box. Owen’s vitals return to normal, perplexing his frantic mother.
Jess is called away to tend to Helen, who, at the twilight of her life, wishes to be euthanized. Their conversation is cut short when Owen begins convulsing with froth pouring out of his mouth. Jess is not comforted by the realization that her anemic little boy must feed on blood to recover. But the well-being of her son overpowers any moral dilemma she may be feeling. She steals a bag of plasma from the hospital and lets Owen drink his fill. When he starts feeling better, she uses her experience as a nurse to convince the doctors that Owen will be better off staying at home.
How Far Does Jess Go To Keep Owen Alive?
Jess’ deteriorating morals stem from both her history as an addict and her love for her son. When the changed locks at the hospital make it impossible for her to swipe bags of blood, Jess resorts to draining blood out of animals to keep Owen going. A violent seizure makes it clear that the only blood Owen will survive on is human. With her back to the wall, Jess has no choice but to drain her own blood to feed her ailing son. In the chaos of her desperation, Jess remains blind to the festering parasite that lives within her little boy. She is too preoccupied with keeping him alive to see the bloodthirsty evil that is taking over Owen.
Helen’s failed suicide attempt could not come at a better time for Jess, who is in a debilitated state of passing out from lack of blood. Luring her to the car with the promise of dropping her off at home, Jess plans to hold the dying woman captive to drain her blood. It is Jess’ words of hope that have an effect on Helen. She now wants to live the rest of her life, making the best of the little time she has left. Unaffected by the moral dilemma of hurting Helen, Jess drugs her and holds her hostage in the basement.
The days of robbing the miserable woman of her blood and feeding it to her son see the danger of coming to an end when Tyler unearths her family’s grisly secret. She is made to keep her mouth shut. She doesn’t necessarily have a problem with doing the same when she learns that the unimaginable monstrosity that is being inflicted on Helen is what keeping her little brother alive. Helen’s fate, however, presents her with an opportunity to make a run for it only to have her fall on the sharp barbed wire that encircles the woods. For the first time, Jess’ terrified eyes gawk at the monster she has been allowing to grow within her son as he feasts on the blood that is flowing out of Helen’s punctured neck.
Blood (2022): Movie Ending, Explained
Where Did Owen’s Predicament Originate?
Jess had decided to completely disengage from any thought that didn’t vehemently justify her disturbing actions. It was no longer just her children’s custody that she was concerned about. The very existence of her son sadly relied on her criminal proclivities. Losing sight of right and wrong came easy for the woman whose only purpose was aiding the survival of her son. And that wasn’t the only thing that slipped past her myopic vision.
She failed to notice the evident and concerning changes that were taking place in her son. It was Tyler who first saw that the person that her mother was striving to save was not Owen anymore. With Helen dead, Jess was running out of blood to offer to her son, whose hunger seemed to be ascending aggressively.
Whether it is purely out of his concern for his son or to use the situation to get sole custody, Patrick shows up at Jess’ door with child services. Since the incident, Jess hasn’t been able to send Owen to school. She begs in vain to keep the children with her and watches with dreadful eyes as they are snatched away. She does remember to hand the last bottle of blood to Tyler, knowing that won’t sustain Owen’s violent appetite. Mirroring the sick Pippin, Owen’s eyes glow the most vicious shade of yellow whenever his hunger isn’t instantly satiated.
At his father’s place, he is doomed to be puppeteered by the monster within him. He almost ends up attacking Patrick’s new offspring. Tyler arrives just in time to drag him away and talk him back into his humane senses. But at the same time, the little girl knows that Owen is being controlled by something far more sinister. She brings Owen to the spot where it all began, the parched lake with the demonic tree.
Jess’ helpless state is worsened when panicked Patrick comes back, accusing her of stealing the children. As they look through the empty house, Jess’s motherly instincts kick in and drag her to the lake. By the time she gets herself to the ominous spot, hungry Owen has already pounced on Tyler like a rabid dog. After restraining her ferocious son, Jess faces the worst dilemma a mother can possibly be subjected to. When Jess sees the hideous monster that has become her son, she decides it is time to put an end to the madness. She holds Owen down into the muck and suffocates him to death. Being the only other person who knows the whole truth, Tyler decides to corroborate the lie about the circumstances of Owen’s death.
Not having the privilege of explaining the truth robs Jess of the custody of Tyler. In exchange for getting counseling, as they suspect that mental illness was at play, Jess is allowed a singular, short-lived visitation with Tyler. The intended ambiguity of the ending has Jess burning down the tree that started it all. For a relieving moment, it seems as though the evil that inhabited the tree has been exterminated. But as the mid-credit scene finds Jess’ new dog’s eyes fixated on something in the woods, we can assume that whatever entity had shattered her life is back.