There is a lot to praise about this film, but chiefly is its stance on American colonialism and thrusting the theme of zombie horror as the platform to herald from. The term Blood Quantum is from the Indian Blood Laws in the United States that determine Native American identity by the percentages of their ancestry, for example if you are born from a mother and father who are considered 100 percent Native American, you would be deemed as having pure blood.
It is this concept that is then carried through the film’s narrative which determines those with Native American blood, immune to a zombie outbreak that occurs.
When we meet our lead characters, they are a mismatch of family members, fractured by the toils that society has placed upon them. There’s the patriarchal figure in Traylor , an indigenous sheriff, who despite being the lead authority in the fishing town, has had his fair share of mistakes to bear his soul. The biggest test that Traylor must face is the bestow upon his two (Michael Greyeyes) sons (both from different mothers) the responsibilities that adulthood brings. One of his sons, Joseph (Forrest Goodluck) has the promise to take on this role, but is prone to self-sabotage and avoidance, which is primarily brought around by the daunting task of becoming a father himself. The other son, Lysol (Kiowa Gordon) seems to be beyond salvation, content on playing by his own rules. Traylor certainly has his work cut out for him under normal circumstances, but this all unfolds in the middle of a zombie outbreak.
Thankfully, he’s supported by some kick-ass individuals along the way to protect him, his family and community along the way. Among them are his own father, Gisigu (Stonehorse Lone Goeman), a sword-wielding fiend who certainly knows how to hold his own and bastion of his kin. There’s also Traylor’s ex-wife, and mother to Joseph, Joss (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers), who also happens to be a nurse. In this narrative, she serves as the constant strength and support to her family, despite all of their flaws.
The first half an hour of the movie as the zombie outbreak is unleashed, is jam-packed with tension as the lead characters first fathom what they are faced with and then how to survive this ordeal.
Unfortunately the middle section sags a little as the community has set up a refuge six months after the outbreak and learn that they are immune from the virus. The film struggles to stay afloat during this phase and at times feels that it is in danger of losing all the promise that led the stories charge.
Blood Quantum’s saving grace comes from the strength of its characters. The inner turmoil that is evident in the set up, and like the virus itself, cannot be saved. Instead it is down to the most resilient of them to prevail and find a way out of their predicament. Just a shame it wasn’t able to keep the pace throughout.
- Saul Muerte