Publisher: BloomFilm, LLC
Length: 71 minutes
Release Date: 04/07/2015
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG
I always feel bad when I don’t like something people clearly put a lot of effort into. Making movies is hard, especially when your budget isn’t that large and you’re working with non-professionals. I wanted to like Bloom, because I thought the concept was interesting: a girl wakes up covered in blood, wondering what happened, and as she pieces the event of the night together, she comes to learn that she is, in fact, a monster. Interesting premise, even if it’s not a new one. The movie has good (if short) reviews on DriveThruRPG, so I figured, why not? It’s worth a shot.
Those positive comments must have been written by friends who wanted the movie to succeed. Either that, or they didn’t watch the same movie I did. Fair warning, spoilers below, though in my opinion there isn’t much to spoil.
The first two minutes or so of the movie are interesting. It opens with a girl, Lily, leaned up against a toilet in a motel room, with blood everywhere. She looks dead. Suddenly, she wakes up and begins looking around, confused (for obvious reasons). A message is written on the mirror in blood: “Forgive me.” This is actually the most interesting thing that happens in the entire movie.
She makes her way home, in broad daylight, stumbling and covered in blood, while no one says anything to her at all… for the next three minutes, and boy, does it drag. Initially, I thought, well, they’re trying to say something here. She’s struggling to walk home, and the few people she runs into see fit to gossip about her or look at her weird, but not to ask if a girl covered in blood and clearly disoriented needs help. Gotcha. But then we see another two minutes of her walking, and I start to wonder if maybe that wasn’t their point, that maybe they were just filming this so it takes up the same amount of time as the less than satisfying theme song. Not a great start.
The rest of the plot isn’t interesting enough to go into too much detail here, but essentially she asks her best friend for help and tries to hint that maybe she’d been sexually assaulted, and the friend is completely clueless and instead invites her out to party again. She starts having negative reactions to food and drink (everything tastes awful) and is running a body temperature of about 70°F (about 21C), so she calls her brother. Her brother comes over, is initially very sympathetic, and then, because she doesn’t want to go to the doctor about potentially having been sexually assaulted or being sick and accidentally knocking him over (not realizing how strong she’s become), he goes into this kind of slut shaming diatribe (which literally doesn’t make sense given his reaction to her having said she might have been assaulted) and leaves. So much for that.
She decides to go to the club to piece together what happened the night before. She ends up getting kidnapped by two self-labeled vampire hunters, who have tragic but not really sympathetic backgrounds (they tell their stories so matter-of-factly that I found myself not caring even though it was sad). That mystery of how she became what she is, a vampire? Not all that mysterious, in fact. It’s exactly what you’re likely thinking happened. She ends up killing one of her kidnappers, going back to her place, trying to talk to the other one about what exactly is happening to her, which, of course, he doesn’t really know. They’re interrupted by the friend, who she orders to sit down, and the other guy tries to run away, so she kills him.
This would have been an okay ending point. She could have driven off into the distance and we’d be left imagining what would happen to her, what she would do from here, now that she knows what she is. But it keeps going.
She ends up making that same trek we saw at the beginning of the film, and decides to follow this guy that gave her a weird look both times. She’s stopped by the sight of a church, which she goes into, and then goes into the confessional. This confessional scene starts off like it might end up being interesting. Maybe it’ll be some sort of philosophical statement about humanity. No, it just devolves into a “humans suck, I’m glad I’m a monster, humans are the real monsters” monologue, to which the pastor simply responds (paraphrasing), “Well then I guess you don’t have a soul, and God can’t forgive you.” Okay. Oh, remember her friend? Don’t worry, she forgot about her friend too. Her friend ended up defecating on her couch from being there so long and not moving but needing to go to the restroom. Lily goes into this diatribe about how awful of a friend she is (that feels unbelievable by this point) and makes her clean her couch. She then kills her, puts her blood into a thermos, and leaves, thus ending the movie.
If all of this sounds pretty boring, that’s because it is. The acting is subpar, aside from the lead actress, who does okay until she starts opening her eyes way too wide to “seduce” people into doing what she wants, once she starts falling into her role as a vampire. Some actors overplay their roles, while others underact, and the whole debacle ends up feeling really disingenuous as a result. Lily’s actions feel like they should make sense (why not be mad at the friend who failed to realize the severity of the situation you were in?) but somehow, by the time we reach that point, it doesn’t. We don’t really witness Lily’s emotional journey. We don’t get to a point where we feel like we understand what her motivations are. Is she trying to fight becoming a monster, or is she embracing it? Where does that switch happen, and why? She flips back and forth, which could make sense, but there’s no logical connection between those flips, no “aha” moment where it all clicks. I really wanted to understand Lily, but she ended up feeling foreign.
Maybe Bloom would have benefited from being released as a web series rather than a full-length film. Maybe that would have forced the creators to tighten up their script a bit, keep the suspense going. Because as it was released, I nearly fell asleep at some parts. There was no sense of terror, no empathizing with Lily or her plight (even though intellectually I can say, “Wow, that whole situation sucks.”), no suspense. The dialogue and character development were sorely lacking. When the best thing I can say about the movie is that the filming was pretty decent, I’m not sure it’s worth anyone’s time to watch it, even keeping in mind the limited budget of an independent studio.
I really wanted to like Bloom, but in the end, it fell short on almost every metric of quality possible. Though the concept is interesting and it was shot well, the sound isn’t great, the special effects (consisting of stuff that doesn’t look like blood and white contacts) aren’t great, the acting isn’t great, the script is pretty bad, and the pacing is awful. I can’t think of anyone I would recommend this movie to, with the exception of people who genuinely like watching bad movies. Sadly, I don’t think that was their intended audience.
Short Attention Span Summary
Bloom is only a little over an hour long, but it drags so much it feels like a two-and-a-half hour film. I found myself bored, uninterested in any of the characters, and actually laughing at some parts that clearly weren’t supposed to be funny. The acting is subpar, the music doesn’t quite fit like it’s supposed to and borders on upsetting, and the script really needs help. I wanted to like it, but I could barely get myself to finish watching it. In fact, if I wasn’t reviewing it, I would have turned it off about halfway through. I hate to say it, but this isn’t worth your time, and if you want to play the RPG associated with it, I definitely wouldn’t watch this, because it killed all interest I would have had in it.