Friday, March 26, 2021

Into the Dark: Blood Moon Review: A Slow Burning and Mysterious Family Story

Megalyn Echikunwoke	...	Esme Rawls Yonas Kibreab	Yonas Kibreab	...	Luna Joshua Dov	Joshua Dov	...	Sam Marco Rodríguez	Marco Rodríguez	...	Miguel Gareth Williams	Gareth Williams	...	Barlow Townes Jack Yang	Jack Yang	...	Joseph Brian R. Norris	Brian R. Norris	...	Deputy Hammond (as Brian Norris) Jan Munroe	Jan Munroe	...	Dr. Rainer Patrick Day	Patrick Day	...	Julian (as Patrick W. Day) Danielle Juliet Ma	Danielle Juliet Ma	...	Nurse

Release date: March 26, 2021
Running time: 85 minutes
Starring: Megalyn Echikunwoke, Yonas Kibreab, Joshua Dov, Marco Rodriguez 

Into the Dark is a Hulu collaboration with Blumhouse to make a monthly movie-length horror feature from Jason Blum’s independent TV studio. Each feature-length installment is inspired by a holiday and features Blumhouse’s signature genre/thriller spin on the story.  Into the Dark's Season Two finale, Blood Moon, is inspired by the full moon.  When Esme (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and her ten-year-old son, Luna (Yonas Kibreab), move to a small desert town looking for a fresh start they attract all the wrong kinds of attention. As the locals begin to probe, Esme must battle to protect her son and a terrifying secret before the next full moon threatens their very existence.

Evan Williams	Evan Williams		 Zachary Michael Cruz	Zachary Michael Cruz	...	Party Kid (uncredited) Produced by  Tevin Adelman	...	producer Jason Blum	...	executive producer Scott Fort	...	line producer Alexander Koehne	...	executive producer Markus Bishop-Hill	...	associate producer Lauren Downey	...	executive producerMusic by  Jay Wadley	...	composer
Blood Moon has a slow, mysterious start that will keep you wondering what is happening to this nomadic family.  There are hints of the explanation behind Esme's need to keep moving and Luna's strange behavior, but you don't really get a great sense of the full predicament until later in the episode.  And that is thanks to Echikunwoke's great portrayal of a guarded, independent mother trying to make the best of her current situation.  Her caution is understandable given her background, and it is interesting to see the town's reaction to a persona that they are not used to.  Yonas Kibreab also does a great job as a conflicted boy, who has his own burdens to bear but also wants to just be a kid.  And he has to handle a few personality shifts in this, and does so naturally.  I was very impressed by this young actor's performance and looking forward to see what he does next.

As I mentioned, the storytelling has a slower pace but I appreciated that about it.  There were occasional flashbacks to earlier times for the family to fill in the backstory.  And although you do eventually get a full picture, the film retains its air of mystery throughout most of it, only giving glimpses into this family's past.  The whole setup is relatively simple, but that doesn't mean it is not an interesting film to follow.  I also really liked the use of practical effects and the avoidance of big CG spectacles.  This film could have gone either way, but I'm thankful for the simpler, suspenseful approach.  If there are any negatives to Blood Moon, it is that the story kind of devolves at the end with a too convenient wrap up.  And there is a reveal that just did not carry the same gravity as what I had come to expect.  But overall, this is a great way to spend an evening with a slow building story and some mysterious lead performances.  Just make sure to check the moon phase before you do so there are no surprises! 

Into the Dark: Blood Moon's measured, interesting, and mysterious story and great characters will leave a full moon-sized impression on you.

Watch it.
Directed by  Emma Tammi	Writing Credits   Adam Mason	...	(written by) & Simon Boyes	...	(written by)
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Into the Dark: Blood Moon premieres on March 26, 2021 exclusively on Hulu

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