Making its way onto Netflix today is the Spanish teen horror-comedy, HollyBlood. The movie – directed by Jesús Font – stars Óscar Casas, Isa Montalbán, Carlos Suárez, Jordi Sánchez, and Piero Mendez, and follows the story of three high school teens who find themselves on the hunt for an ancient vampire.
In the movie, when a number of students go missing from school, vampire enthusiast and YouTuber, Diego, begins to suspect these kids have become victims of a legendary vampire named Azrael. He is not alone in his theory, and classmate, Sara, is also searching for Azrael, believing the vamp to be in town.
But thanks to a case of mistaken identity, both Diego and Sara soon come to believe they have found the elusive creature of the night, in the form of fellow student, Javi. And once Javi learns of this situation, he decides to impersonate Azrael, believing this will be the perfect opportunity to get to know Sara better.
Donning contact lens, changing his hair style, and roping his dad in on the act, Javi maintains the pretence, claiming himself to be a vampire. However, things soon take an unfortunate turn when the real Azrael shows up, and the truth behind the high school disappearances comes to light.
Mildly amusing, easy to watch, and occasionally reminiscent of old horror comedies (a sort of Fright Night meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the movie that is, not the series), HollyBlood is a watchable romp, which doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film is daft, features some tongue-in-cheek performances and as teen B-movies go, it means well.
At this time of year, with Halloween on the horizon, I expect it will probably find an audience, and those who do check it out (and stick with it), will likely enjoy what’s on offer. HollyBlood’s approach to comedy and its tone and spirit should be enough to interest some horror fans, while its ‘80s-inspired score should win over others.
I believe that for the right person, this film will provide a 90-minute piece of escapism, and that’s largely OK with me. However, for this reviewer, while I certainly didn’t dislike HollyBlood, I can’t say I was particularly interested in it either.
Something about this movie failed to connect with me, and while watching there were times when I could feel my mind wandering. Sure, my attention and focus did return on every occasion, but at no point was I all that invested in the film.
I could see what this movie was attempting to do, I could see the audience it was aiming for, and I found some of the dialogue quite funny, but there was a disconnect between me and the material. I expect this is because I knew where the story was going long before it got there, so perhaps a bit of frustration and boredom set in.
HollyBlood is also aimed at teens, and as I’ve not been a teen for quite some time now, I guess my disinterest in the film is likely an age thing. I genuinely believe there is something about HollyBlood that will work for some people – just not me.
Sticking with the positive side of things, everyone involved with this movie appears to have understood the assignment and they knew exactly the type of picture they were making. Óscar Casas, Isa Montalbán, and Jordi Sánchez in particular throw themselves into their roles, and they hit their marks throughout.
The ‘80s-inspired score that I mentioned above, really does add something to the film, and a brief spoof of the Twilight franchise, which pops up midway through the movie, is quite fun. HollyBlood also appears to gain momentum as it enters its final 30-minutes, meaning it does end on a high.
Should you watch the film? I would say this largely depends on whether you are interested in Spanish, teen comedy-horrors, of the B-movie variety. This is quite a niche market, but if this sort of thing butters your bagel, then give it a try.
As for me, every once in a while, a movie comes along that I am neither excited for, nor I particularly dislike, leaving me merely indifferent about the whole thing. This is how I feel about HollyBlood – I could take it or leave it.