Bushwick hipsters are horrifying enough. Adding a few vampires is almost
redundant. There are all just life-sucking parasites. At least that is the
impression one gets from Onur Tukel’s desperately unfunny comedy, Summer of Blood (trailer here), which inflicts
its pain on the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Sparrow is a nauseatingly self-absorbed slacker who thinks the world owes him a
living. After rejecting his career-oriented girlfriend’s marriage proposal out
of commitment phobia, he discovers most single women are put off by his schlubby
underachiever shtick. This so wounds his entitled ego, he willingly submits to
vampire, who turns him rather than killing him. Suddenly, Sparrow is doing
better with the ladies, but he also has that undead need to feed.
out of a misguided sense of BKLN solidarity, some critics have likened Blood to the vastly superior work of
Woody Allen and Larry David, but those comparisons are way off the mark. At
their best, Allen, David, and Seinfeld knowingly undercut their neurotic
pretensions, but Tukel celebrates Sparrow’s narcissism, elevating it to heroic
levels. That would be fine, if the comedy clicked to any extent. Take for instance
his favorite punchline—“is this because I’m Turkish”—and imagine how well it
works with multiple repetitions.
about the second or third time Blood shows
us Sparrow flying solo in a men’s room stall we start to realize just how much
the film hates its potential audience. In fact, the smarmy vibe is well matched
by the film’s dingy look, giving the impression it was shot with split pea soup
smeared on the digital lens. The stilted performances do not help either,
unless you dig the in-joke of indie directors such as Johnathan Coauette
popping up in small cameos.
The last press screening I attended that was as
stony silent as the Blood p&i was
for Claude Lanzmann’s The Last of the
Unjust. Obviously, the two films bear no comparison. The point is nobody
could even generate a chuckle for the Brooklyn vampires. A thoroughly unpleasant
failure by any rational aesthetic standard, Summer
of Blood is absolutely not recommended when it screens again tomorrow
(4/26) during this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. If you already have a ticket, scalp
it in front of the theater. Instead, try to catch Slaying the Badger, Battered Bastards of Baseball, or Black Coal, Thin Ice, three great Tribeca selections also showing on Saturday.
Labels: Brooklyn Films, Tribeca '14, Vampire films