Director Jeff Barnaby’s (Rhymes for Young Ghouls) Blood Quantum brings something new, fresh, and ingenious to the zombie genre: an indigenous horror film. The film stars Michael Greyeyes (Woman Walks Ahead), Elle-Maija Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open), Forrest Goodluck (The Revenant 2015), Kiowa Gordon (The Red Road), Stonehorse Lone Goeman (Shipwrecked: La Belle the Ship That Changed History), Olivia Scriven (Unless), and Brandon Oakes (Bad Blood TV series). Blood Quantum is playing now on Shudder.
The dead are coming back to life outside the isolated Mi’gmaq reserve of Red Crow except for its indigenous inhabitants who are strangely immune to the zombie plague.
Blood Quantum takes place on a First Nations Reserve in Canada. The term “blood quantum” refers to a colonial measurement system that determines the amount of indigenous blood a person has. This can affect a person’s entire life: including their identity, relationships, and the lives of their children.
The movie mainly revolves around a single family made up of father Traylor (Greyeyes), mother Joss (Tailfeathers), grandfather Gisigu (a terrific Goeman), and sons Joseph (Goodluck) and Lysol (Gordon). Blood Quantum is split into two parts: the first covering the day the members of the reservation discover the dead are coming back to life, and the second half shows them six months later where the tribe tries to survive in a world where the undead are right outside their door.
I’d just like to say that I loved, loved, loved this film! I’m a big fan of zombie films in general, and I am so thrilled when I discover something new and fresh. Just when you think you have seen every angle there is, someone comes along with a new, exciting approach. Films like Blood Quantum are why I love movies.
The master of all zombie films, George Romero, always made sure that his films were not just mindless entertainment, but that they also made a social statement. Blood Quantum parallels the invasion of the non-native (white) zombies into the safe zone of the reservation established by the immune Mi’gmaq tribe with the original, brutal colonization of the land by the white settlers. As before, the Mi’gmaq are fighting for their very survival physically and culturally. But, they also must battle each other as their quarantined tribe threatens to break down from within.
The gore is plentiful and fantastic. There are shotguns, swords, grinders, and chainsaws galore. The practical effects are on point, and the blood flows, splattering freely. The characters are wonderful for the most part. Traylor, played by Michael Greyeyes, is a solid, dynamic force, and Elle-Maija Tailfeathers’ Joss is a sympathetic yet strong mother figure. Unfortunately, the two sons both come off as one dimensional characters, and that does remove some of the tension from second half of the film. Hands down, the star of Blood Quantum is Stonehorse Lone Goeman as a grandfather who kicks an insane amount of zombie ass.
For any faults it has, Blood Quantum is the most entertaining and socially exciting film I have seen in a long time. It’s bursting at the seams with enough gore to satisfy any hardcore horror fan and has a great story to boot. This is an important film that should be seen. If you have Shudder, watch it! If you don’t, get it! It’s free right now. Just find a way to watch it!