Summer of Blood Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Film distributed by Dark Sky Films
Written and directed by Onur Tukel
2014, Not Rated, 88 minutes
Released theatrically and on VOD on October 17th, 2014
Onur Tukel as Erik Sparrow
Anna Margaret Hollyman as Jody
Dakota Godlhur as Penelope
Melodie Sisk as Blake
Erik Sparrow is a total dick. He’s lazy, unmotivated, opinionated, and so very annoying. And when his ceaselessly patient girlfriend Jody proposes to him, he says no. What an idiot. Naturally, this leads Jody to realize she can do immensely better and she leaves Erik for a younger, more handsome man much more suited to her. Erik embarks on a mission to do the same, but only ends up insulting and disappointing the women he dates because he is, in fact, a total dick. Only being bitten by a vampire one night transforms him into a talented lover and from there leads him on a convoluted journey to win Jody back and finally to wedded bliss. And he gets to stay a total dick for all eternity. It’s hard to tell what the point of Summer of Blood is.
Maybe the message is that we have to settle for less. Jody (Anna Margaret Hollyman) seems like a good person; she’s got a decent sized apartment to herself in Bushwick, which means she has a job that’s more than survival. She’s smart and attractive, so why on earth is she putting up with a man like Erik (Onur Tukel)? A man who disdains to work at a good job, masturbating to his coworker’s photo in the john? I’m really confused why she puts up with that.
Maybe the message is that we assume a good or plentiful sex life will make us happy. Erik takes out Blake (Melodie Sisk) and fails to rock her world. He doesn’t even rock the mattress that much. But after being bitten by a mysterious stranger, he calls her again and makes up for his shortcomings. Pun completely intended. He then hooks up with two other women whose nights he ruined, culminating in a foursome with all three ladies where they suggest he call Jody again. So sex isn’t enough, emotional happiness is important. Which would be a good message but is contradicted by the finale.
So maybe the ultimate message here is that we, as humans, never learn and are doomed to make mistakes forever. The very night of their wedding, Erik refuses to bite Jody and heads out to find an animal to eat. How very Twilight. And while looking for a dog, he comes across Penelope (Dakota Goldhur), the coworker who inspired so many bathroom whackfests. And he bites her. She follows him back to the honeymoon suite, Jody gets mad that he’d bite another woman and not her when he should want to spend eternity with Jody, yada yada...so he bites her so she can’t leave him.
Jody very nearly dies from the bite and Erik finally succumbs to the very real fact he may lose the only woman who believed in him when he was a total dick. He prays to God to save Jody, to restore him to humanity, and for world peace. Jody wakes up a vampire. And then they have another threesome. I never thought I’d be depressed at the mention of sex but there you have it.
The documentary, follow-cam shots are well suited to the storytelling method here, and the ad-lib style of acting leads to some entertaining interactions. It’s clear that Turkel intended some sort of commentary on how we care so little about others today, like when his character when he discovers a dying man and attempts to get help, he is easily distracted with conversation about how he looks like Jerry Garcia. But Erik is so unlikeable and his contrition so insincere I could never go on his side. I can’t figure out why the women he dated had so little self-esteem that they’d go out with him a second time, even if he was a vampire in the sack. Are women supposed to be needy, shallow beggars in this story? How did he hold on to a job for so long when he was rude and ineffectual? There’s an 8.6% unemployment rate in Brooklyn, I’m pretty sure they could find someone else for his chair.
I’ve decided to take my own message away from this that there are plenty of selfish, self-obsessed, self-righteous people that I see reflected in Erik Sparrow and before they literally become a leech on my life, it’s best to cut them off.
Meanwhile, Summer of Blood may have its moments, but it’s nothing I’d call for a second date.