Review of Blood Clan

Blood Clan (1990)
6/10
Hope As The Nemesis Of Justice.
25 May 2013
Hope As The Nemesis Of Justice.

Although this film's plot line is more dismal than it is interesting, its effectively moody photography helps in convincing viewers that a tale about possible latter-day cannibalism being discovered in 19th century Canada is worth the telling. Very loosely based upon the 16th century Sawney Beane legend of Scotland, the work is initially unconvincing, but after its action moves across the pond into Canada, the melodramatic plot is given a satisfactory edge. Updating the Sawney Beane story by several centuries gives screenwriter/producer Glynis Whiting an opportunity to modify, as with other elements, the geographic region. The film opens with a Scottish military unit rounding up and gunning down a large group of Sawney Beane's followers. The plot then moves into the juridical chambers of Justice William McKay (Gordon Pinsent) who is seen deciding against hanging a juvenile, three-year-old Katy Bane (Beane), despite her being a known offspring of cult members, and who most certainly must have dined upon the flesh of humans. McKay is next found in Canada, still a judge, 15 years later, where he resides with his wife, daughter, and the now adopted Katy. Although very far off from Scotland, some from the local populace have been able to identify Katy as a former member of the infamous cannibal clan. Although somewhat ill-at-ease from having a former cannibal among them, the citizenry keep their feelings subdued until two young children are slain and their hearts removed, after which tongues begin to wag about Katy's possible role in the killings, with the chief proponent of the suspicions being the local sheriff. In the meantime, a pleasant young man has come to understudy with Judge McKay, and he, Stuart (Robert Wisden) fixes his interest romantically upon Katy while he seeks the truth concerning the two killings, for which no suspect has been identified. Subsequent to the deaths of the two children, another gruesome murder, of McKay's handyman, follows, with his heart similarly torn from his body. Although the neighbours of McKay continue to look back upon the Gothic excesses of Sawney Beane, it becomes increasingly evident that peril may very well have entered into their region of Canada from a more recent source. The screenplay is a muddled scribble, a good deal of the plot line making no sense. Nonetheless, there is effectively moody photography, as well as a creation of suspense as to which sorts of secrets will be revealed to a viewer. Director of photography Kenneth Hewlett's camera skills provide a considerable boost to the narrative and, although cannibalism is an unspeakably dreadful subject, a cast led by the charismatic Newfoundlander Pinsent, assists significantly to maintain the work's pacing. With flaws rife throughout this attempt at making a horror film, it remains a better than average piece from the genre, as it develops a sense of real fear experienced by neighbours of McKay. It is shot in Alberta, where a frigidly grey atmosphere serves the sombre story well. A rather difficult to find DVD is available in Europe only, but a Monarch VHS copy may be readily located within the U.S. and provides above standard audio and visual quality.
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