Innocent Blood (Blu-ray)

November 2, 2017 7 Min Read

Review by: Jake Keet

Plot: What’s it about?

With Halloween coming up this week, I was excited to get to sit down and watch John Landis’s horror/action/comedy/romance Innocent Blood. Landis had created one of my all-time favorite horror films, An American Werewolf in London, just over one decade before making Innocent Blood. I was excited to see what his take on a vampire film would be. Over the weekend I found some time to sit down and sink my teeth into the film.

The film starts off promising when a starving vampire named Marie (Anne Parillaud) decides Italian food sounds tasty after seeing some news regarding a mobster named Sal (Robert Loggia.) Meanwhile, Sal the Shark kills a traitor over the theft of some toaster ovens from a truck. He does this directly in front of undercover cop Joe Gennero (Anthony LaPaglia) who advises discretion. Leaving there with his friend Tony (Chazz Palminteri) Joe accidentally bumps into Marie. When Joe leaves, Tony stays behind and is eaten by Marie. She has a rule of destroying the evidence of her bite marks by blasting the victim with a shotgun afterward to make it look like a crime scene. Joe comes to the scene of his friend’s death to find out what occurred. His chief (Angela Bassett) tells him he is off the Sal the Shark case and forces him into witness protection. Sal proceeds to meets Marie and she wants to eat him. She is repelled when he offers her mussels with garlic. She sucks some of Sal’s blood but is shot by him in the act. Joe follows the blood to her shoe and she leaps off the building and escapes to a church. She tells Joe to back off and escapes. At the same time, Sal awakens in the morgue.

This film is a little bit divisive for me. It has some redeeming qualities. It’s an anomaly to have a film with Italian-mobster vampires squaring off against an undercover cop and a female vampire. For originality, it earns some points. There are also some well-orchestrated car scenes that reflect Landis’s talent from The Blues Brothers and it features a fantastic cameo from the late Don Rickles as Sal’s lawyer. I also think that the first thirty minutes or so work pretty well.  Unfortunately, the film falters under the weight of its ambitions. It feels like a case of attempting to do too much and ultimately not perfecting at any single idea.

The film as a horror film does not work well at all. It is just not scary and the effect used for the vampires is not going to give anyone a fright unless they have severe fear of jaundiced looking eyeballs. As a romance it is a bit pedantic, with an underdeveloped love story between the cop and Marie. This romance also features a sex scene that is overlong and completely kills the pace of the film. The scene itself is actually a bit sexy and could work in a different film maybe, but here it just feels completely gratuitous. As a comedy, it is darkly funny at times (with one excellent scene involving Don Rickles where it really shines) but never quite pulls off what it is aiming towards. It just isn’t as clever as it thinks it is. As an action film, there is never adequate suspense. Basically, the film is a bit sloppy. Tighter editing and plotting could have made this movie shorter and better. As it stands, it feels like a case where there are just too many cooks in the kitchen. By attempting to please everybody, the film fails to adequately please. My recommendation would be to rent it before a purchase, and I would not actively seek this film out if you have not seen it.

Video: How’s it look?

Warner Archive did a good job on the transfer of the film using an MPEG 4 AVC codec of a new 2K restoration. The image looks natural and good, retaining most of the grain. The film bears some of the normal visual inadequacies of that time period. The film displays occasional softness, and I believe that most of that is a product of the time in which it was filmed and holds no real bearing on the handling of the transfer. While a substantial upgrade over the dated DVD, this film is just not ideal for really showcasing the format. I did not notice any big discrepancies in the color correction or large compression artifacts. Overall this is another good transfer from Warner Archive, but I wouldn’t expect any type of miracles to be worked here.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Innocent Blood has been given a pretty great DTS-HD MA 2.0 track. The dialogue is crystal clear and the soundtrack of the film is one of its better aspects. It features songs by Jackie Wilson, Frank Sinatra, Jon Secada, Rhythm Syndicate, and Prince. It succeeds with the more traditional songs whereas the Rhythm Syndicate songs date the film. The action scenes use the soundscape pretty well considering the film is only a 2.0 mix. This is a pretty great track overall.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Theatrical Trailer

The Bottom Line

Innocent Blood just can’t seem to figure out what type of film it wants to be. Is it a romance? A comedy? An action film? A horror film? It is all of those things and none of them effectively. I really wanted to like this film, because I love An American Werewolf in London. As it stands, this movie does not hold a candle to that film. Warner has provided a solid transfer of the film without additional supplements aside from a trailer. Fans will be glad to get to see this one in high definition, but casual viewers would probably be better off skipping it all together.

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