Something terrible has happened. A woman is bent over, panting after taking a beating. She is in distress. A man is dead. Now what?
Writer-director Matthew Pope’s Blood On Her Name kicks off with the aftermath of unimaginable horror, we don’t know all the details, but we do know that this woman’s conscience is going to be her downfall. Especially when her attempts to control the situation makes everything worse for her.
After the opening scene, we spend the remainder of the film watching Leigh (Bethany Anne Lind) unravel as her conscience and personal drama regarding her son Ryan (Jared Ivers) become too much to bear. She begrudgingly gets help from her estranged father and town’s sheriff (Will Patton). After failing to go through with her plan to be rid of the body, Leigh struggles to return the corpse of the man she killed to his family and live with what she has done.
At a brisk 85 minutes, the film wastes no time and drags us along with every bad decision Leigh makes. No matter what happened to lead to the incident, the film has us totally absorbed with Leigh’s trauma. Although the run time draws out the drama for longer than necessary, it is held together by Lind’s intense and overwhelming performance. She imbues her character with a strength and passion that simmers below the surface of her panicky exterior. Lind is able to convey Leigh’s desperate attempts in appearing strong and “not totally suspicious” but is helplessly falling apart before our eyes.
The film never reveals things too soon with revelations stemming from a knowledge the audience is not privy to. One has to pay attention as Leigh and those around her grapple with the reality of the situation at hand, and things get messier when the pieces start to fall into place. Leigh has a lot more going on then we are initially lead to think.
As first features go, Blood On Her Name is a very impressive debut. Pope has quite the future ahead of him as this is a well-made mystery that is strengthened by a stellar lead performance and an intriguing story.
Blood On Her Name opens in US theatres and VOD on February 28th
by Ferdosa Abdi
Ferdosa Abdi is a lifelong film student and aspiring film festival programmer. Her favourite genres are science-fiction, fantasy, and horror and her favourite director is Guillermo del Toro. She is madly in love with Eva Green and believes she should be cast in everything. You can follow Ferdosa on Twitter @atomicwick