Hollywood film companies want to get as wide of an audience as they can for their films. A tool to do so is not to show blood when people are shot. The reward, if you don't is a PG-13 rating. The possible side effect to your audience is a belief that violence is not messy which can lead to desensitization. Rob Grant and Mike Kovac had made a couple of small budget horror films that had moderate success on the festival circuit. Their second film Mon Ami followed two guys who worked in a hardware store that decided to kidnap the bosses' daughter for ransom. The bumblers end up killing her by mistake then go back to their hardware store to get tools to dismember the body. It's a video of this shopping spree that a fan sends to Rob making him begin to think about his responsibility to the public as a horror filmmaker.
To find out Rob and Mike go to a range and shoot guns, Mike gets in a fight in a dojo then they contact a criminal defines attorney friend to learn what it's like to interact with real criminals on a daily basis. Another contact links them to film consultant that they call "John" who has seen and likely participated in real violence. The repeated theme is in real life violence happens and it's over fast. You can beat someone up in eight seconds. If you're caught in the wrong place at the wrong time; one moment you're here and the next your gone.
Somewhere along the way, the theme of the film changes from determining the responsibility if any of a director to the public for the level of violence portrayed on screen to chasing down those that have experienced real violence on both sides to find out how it made them feel. The latter a more dangerous proposition with real-life consequences that could put the subjects, filmmakers, family, and friends in jeopardy.
Fake Blood is a tense mix of lighthearted investigation and full-on psychological with the hint of physical peril. The documentary crosses over into reality inviting real-life consequences when the filmmakers ill-advisedly dig deeper into consultants John's stories. The switch is jarring leading to a final stanza that will stay with the viewer long after they exit the theatre. Another big difference pointed out to the pair is in movies as opposed to real life there is no aftermath. The filmmakers get to see the chilling aftermath of their actions first hand during the making of this documentary. As "John" states: Movies don't make people go out and kill people but they can change how guys who kill people behave.
**** Out of 4.
Fake Blood | Rob Grant | Canada | 2017 | 81 Minutes
Tags: Documentary, Consultant, Parking Lot, $600.00, Vancouver Island, Drug Trafficker, Manslaughter