Director: Rob Grant
Writers: Rob Grant, Mike Kovac
Stars: Chelsey Reist, Mike Kovac, Camden Filtness
Celebrating it’s Toronto premiere at the Blood In the Snow Canadian Film Festival, Fake Blood finds two filmmakers questioning what their responsibility is in the portrayal of violence in movies.
Director/writer Rob Grant and actor/writer Mike Kovac have been making low budget horror films together for years, but after finding success on the festival circuit with their film Mon Ami, they receive a fan video that makes them question how much influence they potentially have over viewers. In an homage to a scene in Mon Ami, two fans film themselves at a hardware store and explain to Rob and Mike which tools they would choose to dispose of a dead body and why and how they would utilize these tools. Rather than being flattered or amused, Rob and Mike find themselves uneasy and wonder how much their film figures into any potential violent behavior that some viewers might engage in. And this leads them down a road that will prove both eye opening and frightening.
After an interesting visual explanation of the myriad ways the film community finds to make violence more palatable and acceptable to the general audience, Rob and Mike reach out to John. John (not his real name) worked as a consultant on a film and it was assumed that John is the kind of guy who has seen real violence. After an uneasy cold call and the promise of money and no cameras, John agrees to meet up with the two men. Of course, the filmmakers try to get to the meeting place early and hide cameras, but John discovers them. Ultimately, John acquiesces and a truly eerie conversation about real life violence versus film violence unfolds. While Mike is able to keep the chatter moving and at a respectful tone, it is plainly obvious that Rob is unnerved by being in the company of John.
While the rational person would simply move forward with the documentary, Rob latches onto one of John’s stories and decides they should try talking to the brother of a murder victim. A murder victim that John is responsible for. The shit show that unfolds from this truly horrible decision is sobering and life changing for more than just Rob and Mike.
At times, Fake Blood makes you question whether or not you’re watching a 100% real documentary or if this is a truly clever blend of fiction and reality. Rob and Mike begin this journey as longtime friends and end it with Mike refusing to accept Rob’s phone calls. Watching these two friends on this journey is engrossing and infuriating because although Rob is now aware of how fully he fucked up, during filming you will find yourself incredulous at his decisions and this is what makes Fake Blood unique. The filmmakers become subjects in their own film and the viewer is fully invested and finds themselves on the same thrilling journey. The question of how much of Fake Blood is real and how much is movie magic becomes unimportant because, despite their original intentions, Rob and Mike ask a simple question that reveals an answer they weren’t prepared for.
Lisa Fremont | Twitter: @lcfremont
Images: Blood In The Snow Film Festival