Guilty Pleasure: Our Review of ‘Blood on Her Name’

Guilty Pleasure: Our Review of ‘Blood on Her Name’

First time feature director Matthew Pope’s Southern Gothic thriller Blood on Her Name is an intriguing little film. Wasting no time on pleasantries, the movie opens at the conclusion of the story’s inciting incident and burns its way through a scant 85 minute run time.

Leigh (Bethany Anne Lind), accidentally kills a man after being attacked in her auto repair shop. In a panic, she decides to dump the corpse in the forest. But her conscience gets the better of her, and she chooses to return the body to the man’s family. She spends the rest of the film trying to cover up the crime with the help of the local sheriff, who is also her estranged father (Will Patton), while attempting to shield her son Ryan (Jared Ivers) from the truth.

The performances in this movie are quite strong. Patton has a solid outing as the somewhat cliché, southern-fried corrupt sheriff. Sure, we’ve seen iterations of similar characters many times, but Patton is clearly having fun in the role. Ivers gives a decent performance, though his character is perhaps a little under-written, spending most of the film acting aloof. I would have liked to have seen his character fleshed out a little further. 

Jimmy Gonzalez as Leigh’s employee Ray functions as the heart of the movie, being perhaps the only truly good person who simply wants to look after those he cares about. I enjoyed every moment he was on screen. But the standout is very much Bethany Anne Lind. She portrays Leigh’s panic beautifully, but also imbues the character with a ferocity when it comes to protecting her child, or pushing away her father. 

Blood on Her Name doles out its mystery when it chooses to. We think we understand what’s happening, only to have a wrench (both literally and figuratively) thrown into our theories. The film continues to surprise, but does so with restraint. Every revelation we see isn’t accompanied by a flashback montage. They are often dropped as a nearly throw-away line of dialogue. 

As much as I enjoyed this film, I did feel like the climax was a little overcooked. It felt out of place and out of character with the rest of the movie, even though the film had been steadily building towards it. I can’t quite articulate my issues with the sequence. But it felt like it was out of a completely different movie. 

Those issues aside, Blood on Her Name is a taut little thriller that is bolstered by strong performances, a tight and nuanced screenplay, ghastly mysteries, and a constant indulgence that yearns for – and builds towards – a satisfying ending.

  • Release Date: 2/28/2020
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