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Dry Blood Review

December 11, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Dry Blood
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Dry Blood Review  

Dry Blood Review

Clint Carney– Brian Barnes
Jaymie Valentine– Anna
Kelton Jones– the cop
Graham Sheldon– Todd
Rin Ehlers– Meagan
Robert V. Galluzo– Clerk
Macy Johnson– Alecia
Savea Kagan– Alecia (voice)

Directed by Kelton Jones
Screenplay by Clint Carney

Distributed by Epic Pictures

Not Rated
Runtime– 84 minutes


Dry Blood, directed by Kelton Jones, is one of those weird beard low budget horror movies where you’re never quite sure what the hell is really going on. Are there ghosts and evil spirits and whatnot or is it all in the protagonist’s head? Are there actual malevolent forces at work or is all of this nastiness a direct result of something else entirely? What sets Dry Blood apart from similar movies is that Dry Blood, for the most part, manages to deliver on its weird beard premise. Just what the hell is going on here?

Dry Blood stars Clint Carney (he also wrote the movie’s screenplay) as Brian Barnes, a sad sack drunk and drug addict who wants to get sober because he’s tired of being drunk and high all of the time. Barnes heads up to a house in the woods that he co-owns with his ex-wife, figuring that by spending some time there, away from everyone and everything, he will be able to dry himself out and, maybe, get his life back on track. Barnes knows that it won’t be easy, but he also knows that he has to make an effort. He just can’t live like this anymore.

When Barnes arrives at the house he immediately falls asleep on the couch. The next day, Barnes heads into town to the general store to get food and other supplies. While inside the store Barnes runs into a local cop (played by director Jones) who is automatically suspicious of him. The cop follows Barnes back to his house and strikes up a conversation with him, a conversation that Barnes simply doesn’t want to have. After the cop leaves, Barnes goes inside, has breakfast, and then explores the house. He finds a strange yellow dress in a closet. Does the dress belong to his ex-wife? Weirded out by the dress, Barnes heads back outside to his car where he finds a lone pill on the passenger seat. How the hell did the pill get there? And what is it? Despite wanting to get clean, Barnes takes the pill.

The cop returns. Barnes interacts with the cop and, again, doesn’t really want to. Their interaction is almost exactly the same as the last time, except the cop’s face seems to be momentarily disfigured. How the hell could that happen? Why would it happen? Is Barnes in the middle of a drug induced hallucination? Probably. After the cop finally leaves Barnes goes inside and has a complete and total freak out. He then falls asleep and wakes up in the middle of the night. Is someone else there with him? Is it Anna, his sometimes girlfriend? Barnes goes to see what’s going on. Someone else is in the house. Sort of.

There’s a goddamn zombie ghost in the house. What the hell is going on?

The next day, after yet another strange encounter with the cop, Barnes goes to the airport to pick up Anna (Jaymie Valentine), who agrees to hang out with him at the house and help him get clean. Barnes is relieved to have someone else in the house with him, partly because Anna will be able to keep him honest in terms of his potential drug or alcohol use, and partly because he will have a fellow witness for all of the bizarre shit going on in the house. And the cop. Barnes isn’t crazy. This strange shit is really happening. Isn’t it?

And so the rest of the movie is an escalating series of potential hallucinations in the middle of Barnes trying to get better. There are more ghosts in the house, and the cop just won’t leave Barnes alone. Why is this cop so interested in what Barnes is doing? Is the cop even real? And why isn’t Anna experiencing any of these bizarre events?

As soon as Dry Bones begins you, along with Barnes, are kept off balance, and that’s before the “supernatural” shenanigans begin. When the really weird stuff starts that off balance feeling only grows. Because, really, what is going on here? Is the house haunted? Is the town haunted? Is the cop a demon or is the cop just a curious cop? Or is everything Barnes is experiencing a product of his drying out process? If he finds more booze and drugs will the weirdness increase? Is everything that Barnes experiences the direct result of that one pill on his car’s passenger side seat? The movie never really lets on. At least not until the end.

Well, maybe. The last fifteen minutes or so seem to suggest that the movie is leaning in one specific way, but then you can’t really trust what you’re seeing because Barnes is such an unreliable narrator. The only truly lucid moment in the movie when it comes to Barnes may be his very first scene, when he calls Anna and tells her that he’s going up to the woods to try to get healthy. You get a sense that Barnes knows that he’s in trouble and that he needs to make a change in his life. But then that decision doesn’t seem to “fix” things in any way. When he gets to the house nothing seems to go right. Nothing. And since Barnes himself doesn’t know what’s really going on he doesn’t know how to react. Even when Anna shows up to help him Barnes doesn’t know how to react. This poor guy’s life is just a complete disaster.

So what do I think is going on? Truthfully, I’m not really sure. There’s abundant evidence for both “the house is evil” and “it’s all in his head.” I think it would be awesome if it’s all in Barnes’ head (you rarely see a supernatural horror movie end with the idea that the supernatural is bullshit), but I don’t think the movie is necessarily going in that one direction. I have a feeling that, in the end, director Jones and writer/star Carney want you to make up your own mind as to what the hell is really happening. I think they would like to know what you suspect and then go from there.

Director Jones knows how to create an unsettling atmosphere out of a rather mundane setting. It’s just a house in the woods. The house isn’t some gothic monstrosity or filled with cobwebs and whatnot. It’s just a house in the woods. The moments where Barnes sees/meets ghost zombies and a headless young woman won’t make you jump, but they will fill you with a quickly growing horror. Because, holy shit, where did that thing come from? And check out the make-up special effects, especially on the first zombie ghost. It’s terrifying.

And check out the CGI facial contortions on the cop. As soon as you see the first one you won’t be able to unsee it. It will freak you the hell out.

The cast is excellent. Carney does a great job as Barnes, the drunk drug addict that wants to change his life. You get the sense that Barnes is troubled the first time you see him, and then you try to figure out what’s really going on with him. Barnes has no idea, and if you can figure it out for him maybe you can help him. Obviously, you can’t really do that because Barnes is a character in a movie you’re watching, but you still get that feeling anyway. Great stuff.

Jaymie Valentine does a fine job as Anna, the girlfriend that just wants to help. She cares for Barnes a great deal, but she knows that, in the state he’s in, she can’t totally trust him to be honest with her. Does he have a stash of booze or drugs that he’s dipping into while she’s there? Is he really committed to his sobriety? You desperately want her trip out to the woods to help her friend to be fruitful and worth it.

Kelton Jones is terrifying as the cop because, just like Barnes, you have no idea who or what he really is. Is the cop a ghost demon out to get Barnes or is he a super concerned/super cautious/bored out of his skull cop? I like how Kelton gives the cop a kind of comic edge or sense of humor that only he completely understands. His smile will give you the creeps.

Dry Blood is a terrific low budget horror flick. It makes you question everything that you see. Everything. It will also creep you the hell out. A definite must see for horror movie fans.

See Dry Blood. See it, see it, see it. Check it out on DVD and Blu-ray, or watch it via Amazon Prime Video or on Tubi TV. You can also check out the movie’s website for more viewing options (there are plenty).


So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 5

Undead bodies: 3

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: Yes.

Doobage: A guy waking up in a car in the middle of nowhere, barfing, driving, a nice and creepy opening theme, a montage of seemingly abandoned places, a broken cigarette, a broken booze bottle, cereal eating, using Coffeemate on cereal (who does that?), face washing, pill taking, weird facial contortions that may not be really happening, a zombie ghost woman, smoking on the deck, potential police harassment, an awkward general store interaction, an argument, pottery smashing, a ghost zombie with a knife, more smoking on the deck, a very dirty knife, a story about hitting a deer, a dead animal rotting in the woods, a yellow dress, sunglasses, basement exploration, a headless child, attempted sex, a bathroom meltdown, drug snorting, a dead body in the trunk, shotgun blast to the face, bleach buying, bottle to the face, bloody finger removal, knife to the fucking face, jamming a booze bottle down the mouth of a dead body and then stomping on it, serious throat slicing with on screen decapitation, and a rotting dead body in the trunk.

Kim Richards?: Big time. Jesus Christ.

Gratuitous: A cop story, a weirdo general store clerk, a lone pill on a car seat, a generic bag of shredded wheat, a low, slanted ceiling, a hallucination montage, a guy rubbing toothpaste on his teeth using his finger, a dog, a hair ribbon, fried eggs, reciting “Humpty Dumpty,” a guy named Todd, and talking to a severed head.

Best lines: “Just leave it, dude,” “How much have you had to drink this morning?,” “You know you gotta pay for this fucking bottle, right?,” “There are several kinds of something wrong with you, right, boy?,” “You’re up early. I didn’t peg you as an early riser,” “What the fuck did you do this time?,” “People actually rent this place from you?,” “Don’t be an asshole,” “What is that? What?,” “You heard a dead woman upstairs?,” “It’s just in your mind,” “Hey, do you know where a guy can score some dope around here?,” “You don’t remember me in this dress?,” “Don’t misinterpret why I’m here,” “Hey, buddy. You having a bad day?,” “Shut up! Shut up! You don’t get to cry! Shut up! Shut up!,” “Just doing some cleaning,” and “Is there anyone else alive in here or can I finally get some fucking sleep?”

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Dry Blood is a terrific, new, weird beard low budget horror flick where you’re never quite sure what the heck is really going on. Is the horror on screen actually something supernatural, or is it all in the head of the movie’s protagonist, in this case a sad sack drunk drug addict that wants to change his life by going into the woods to dry out. The protagonist, Brian Barnes, as played by Clint Carney, goes through hell, and it’s up to you to figure out whether or not what he’s experiencing is actually happening. There’s evidence spread throughout the movie both for and against the supernatural and for and against “it’s all in his head.” A definite must watch for horror movie fans. See Dry Blood as soon as you can.

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Dry Blood, Bryan Kristopowitz