Two Canadian filmmakers set out to do a documentary about the effects of movie violence, but they uncover something more diabolical in Fake Blood, a festival favorite that has already created quite a buzz in the industry.
Rob Grant and Mike Kovac are not only good friends, they are also cohorts in front of, and behind the camera.
The duo is especially good at making B-grade horror movies which feature buckets of blood and gore. Although they use violence in their films, neither of them has really experienced it first-hand.
But when they get a creepy video email from a fan who says he’s seen one of their films which features a dismemberment then gives them his own tutorial on body disposal, they grow curious enough to immerse themselves in the methods they write about on screen.
This was the initial inspiration for this documentary. But it’s about to turn into a darker more terrifying lesson.
They decide to seek outside council about the subject which brings them to a mysterious man named “John,” a production assistant who initially seems willing to talk, but when the subject gets deeper he wants nothing to do with their documentary. That is until he agrees to meet with them for $300.
The rendezvous goes south when Rob and Mike show up with a cameraman, something they said they wouldn’t do, but “John” calms down when it’s agreed his face and voice will be altered.
The three sit in a car while “John” becomes increasingly intense, saying death in film really doesn’t compare to real-life. He knows this because of a past violent crime he’s committed which left someone dead.
This Catfish-type meeting takes the documentary in a whole new direction, derailing it from its original thesis. As “John” tells his story, we get to see a re-enactment of his brutal tale.
Shocked by the conversation, both Mike and Rob aren’t sure what to do next. They agree to ditch the original concept of the doc and turn their attention to “John.” But that only opens up more surprises they wish they’d left buried.
Real documentaries in the horror industry suffer from the “found footage” disease. Blair Witch Project created this problem with their ingenious ad campaign – they even eliminated the credits to add to the mystery.
Fake Blood is a straight-forward documentary as any you would see on HBO or Vice. Mike and Rob and their production crew follow them around as they dig deeper and deeper into the subject until it reaches a point that puts them both in real danger.
So terrifying are their revelations it forces them into hiding putting their friendship at risk.
One of my favorite parts of Fake Blood had to do with me, and it will probably happen to you too. It suddenly hit me to ask the question, “Is this real?” because their journey is so extraordinary. I had no other reason to believe it’s staged; the director says it’s real and everyone seems off-script, and not in that plastic improv way.
But still the question lingers.
Logically it comes down to the re-enactments and where they fall in the continuity of the production. Did they film them immediately after they interviewed their subjects, or did they do it after the raw footage was in the can? I guess time will tell.
Unsettling, disturbing and drenched in paranoia, Fake Blood will challenge your suspension of disbelief. It’s bold, it’s unsettling and it will slowly creep under your skin.
These two guys have gone from making low-budget zombie films to investigative journalists who put themselves in harm’s way just to reach a conclusion. But that end never comes and a fresh fracture in their relationship continues to grow.
Fake Blood is what happens when talented filmmakers go the extra step to touch the material so deeply they become the topic, but there is a rule of journalism which says real journalists report the news – they don’t make the news. In this case Mike and Rob do both in a terrifying way.
Fake Blood is now available to watch On Demand: check your streaming service.