When the anniversary of their grandmother’s death arrives, four cousins who are as close as brothers use it as an opportunity to reconnect on a road trip to the Texas Rio Grande Valley in an effort to pay their respects and visit distant relatives.
“Blood Cousins” is the first feature film for indie film directors Regan Arevalos, Jess Castro and Larry Garza, who also star in the movie. The film starts off with a young Hispanic woman seeking revenge against her cheating husband from a fortune teller and Vodouisant. She is pregnant and just found out that her husband has been with another woman and wants him dead. Instead of death, which the fortune teller explains is too easy, she tells the woman she’ll make him suffer for the rest of his days but in exchange, she wants her soon-to-be-born baby for herself as she is not capable of having children of her own. The woman reluctantly agrees and a pact is made.
Many years later, we are introduced to Stevie (Joel Settles), Ray (Regan Arevalos), Von (Larry Garza) and Eric (Jess Castro), four cousins who decide to take a road trip to the Texas Rio Grande Valley to visit their grandmother’s grave as it’s the anniversary of her death and they want to pay their respects. There’s much guy talk and shenanigans as the foursome make their way south to their destination. After visiting the grave, they make their way to their relatives’ house to catch up on old times. Things have never been too good between them and their relatives and it is here where the film takes a violent twist and ends in bloody murder.
For nearly the first three quarters of the film, it is essentially a guy’s road-trip and nothing is off-limits. Between them all, they talk about anything and everything, from performing oral sex with a girl to old memories from the past. The four characters grow on you as the movie progresses and each of them gets their own allocation of screen time, offering their own individual character traits. It’s when they reach their relatives’ house however, that the film completely changes gears and we go from a funny road-trip movie to a genuinely nasty and infernal bloodbath. Characters are killed for no apparent reason and then the movie ends.
I know that in today’s independent film scene, there are filmmakers out there who are willing to try new things, chopping and changing up genres so people don’t know what to expect and that’s fine, up to a point. However, when you present a movie to the public and for the most part, it is funny with believable situations and dialogue, people get comfortable with the characters and the story and want to see where it’s going but when you suddenly do an outright 180 and kill most of them off utilizing voodoo and black magic, completely changing the whole atmosphere entirely, then the audience doesn’t like you. And for good reason. It feels more like a cop-out than an avant garde ending.
During the finale, we are told about this character’s mother who was no good and that character’s father who was a deadbeat and it gets so convoluted and intricate, you lose track of who’s who and you just can’t keep up. It became apparent to me, that these young men were being killed for the sins of their parents, at least that’s how I interpreted it and if that was the point, it wasn’t a very good one. I would have much rather watched these four guys get lost somewhere along the way and advance the story with comedic elements like it did in the first three quarters of the movie, than end it with unnecessary carnage.
“Blood Cousins” is now available for instant streaming and HD downloads at www.bloodcousinsmovie.com