A devastating past is haunting a father and son, reunited after years apart. They become stranded and wounded in the woods, and have to deal with their broken relationship, dark memories and the being that is out to kill them.
As a fan of Lance Henriksen it was exciting for me to see that he starred in a film that seemed both well-made, serious and with deeper meaning. Even though I think he is great as an actor, he has been in a lot of trash films in his career (which is part of why he is so great, though!). "It's in the Blood" might actually be the strongest film he has been in since "Pumpkinhead" back in 1988.
Just a few minutes into the movie you accept that you won't be able to figure everything out early on. The story frequently jumps into the past and into visions, but the present story is of a father and son reuniting after years apart. They share the same dark past, and they will have to work this out together once they become stranded in the middle of the woods. They both also suffer from horrific hallucinations of a hellish creature coming to them in the mist.
It's surprising to me how easily this movie sucked me in, even though I couldn't follow most of what was going on in the beginning. It's as if it assured you it was supposed to be hard to follow, thus making it easier for you to accept and just follow their journey of emotions and memories. You can sort the film into three categories: the family drama, the psychological thriller, and the monster horror. Though it literally plunges into each of these in a fast pace, and there's a strong contrast in style and atmosphere in each, you never once lose interest. You're genuinely curious what has happened to this father and son in the past, and you have an urge to find out how it links to their current psychological health. And the monster that is hunting them has to fit in there in some way as well.
The movie actually draws you in so good that by the end you realized the most important part of this film wasn't to get an answer - it was the journey itself. And that's actually a very strong trait for a film like this, since it's psychological to a point of being supernatural, and even features a monster of sorts. It's psychological horror that goes pretty damn far. It's interesting when the movie sometimes reminds you of a war movie of soldiers stuck in the jungle, at other times it feels more like earlier mentioned "Pumpkinhead", and then it throws you into a "Jacob's Ladder"-esque hell.
The movie still manages to be artistic, with some really great nature shots as well as a very disturbing monster design. Heavily experimented upon in terms of color filtering and editing sometimes reminds me of the recent films of Lars von Trier - only vaguely and on a few occasions, but this is still a big compliment.
Now, I do have some issues with the film. I think it's fantastic that it puts all the focus on atmosphere and the psychological, and I definitely don't mind the use of metaphors and layers. However, towards the end when it was time to finally connect everything I feel that they overdid a few things, and maybe wanted a few too many metaphors to help us understand (and one especially old and uninspiring metaphor was used) what was really going on. To me this wasn't needed, and instead it made it feel as if it was never truly resolved. Had it ended more open and confusing, but with the thickest layers connected, I would've felt more satisfied leaving the film. And definitely more stimulated.
"It's in the Blood" is actually a great movie against all odds. Considering how some of things in the end could've completely ruined it, I feel that the movie is so strong up until that point that it's still good. It's great to see Lance Henriksen play in a movie like this, and moreso it's great to see an independent production like this. It's a joy to watch this movie, and even its weaker moments left me in a good mood and that's almost unheard of from me (I'm a grump). If you take upon the movie with open arms then you'll quickly look past the few things that could be seen as flaws, and be left with a psychological horror that's sure to entertain you as well as hook you into its backstory. Don't think of it as a heavy and depressing psychological movie like the fantastic "Jacob's Ladder", but rather like a good horror perfectly mixing the seriousness with the campiness and the creepiness. A top contender so far for this year simply because of how entertaining it was through-out!