The 16th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival comes to an end with the rollicking indie Canadian horror-comedy Here for Blood.
Selected as the Closing Gala presentation for 2022, the Canadian horror-comedy feature directed by Daniel Turres is a wild ride, sure to have the Toronto After Dark audience laughing along as the body count piles up and blood rains down.
The story follows down-on-his-luck pro-wrestler Tom O’Bannon (Shawn Roberts) who decides to help out his college girlfriend Phoebe by filling in for her on a babysitting job. Arriving at the isolated home, Tom begins a quiet pizza night with 10-year-old Grace, happy to be making a quick buck for little effort. But, as it turns out, babysitting isn’t the most terrifying way to spend an evening. Before long, Tom and Grace find themselves battling for their lives in a chaotic and bloody home invasion when otherworldly masked intruders descend on the family home. Expecting to find a young babysitter, the invading cult members are in for a surprise when they meet the pro-wrestler, Tom.
Horror audiences will cheer as the chaos escalates and Tom finds himself up against demonically-possessed killers, reanimated corpses, and yes, even a ravenous talking skull. Borrowing from several horror genres and tropes, Here for Blood dips into the supernatural and home invasion genres with a side of zombie lore and a dash of Cabin in the Woods-meets-Evil Dead. Genre fans will get a kick out of the blood and gore by Hamilton’s Butcher Shop FX Studio which belie the film’s meagre budget. The movie leans more into the violence and blood as opposed to going for cheap and easy jump scares common in low-budget horror. At times downright silly, the movie is as self-aware as it should be, striking an effective balance between laughing with and at the action on screen.
Written by James Roberts and starring a Canadian cast that includes Joelle Farrow, Maya Misaljevic, Tara Spencer-Nairn, and Michael Therriault, Here for Blood also features Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. Wholly independently produced and financed, Here for Blood is a fitting way to wrap up the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.