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Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015)
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus seems to take heavy cues from the late novelist and independent filmmaker Bill Gunn's artfully experimental and metaphorical vampire movie, Ganja & Hess (1973). It's unclear why. The saga of Gunn's movie is more interesting than Gunn's movie is, frankly. Ganja & Hess screened at Cannes before being unceremoniously recut as a Blaxploitation flick released under various titles. Decades later, its restored version courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art is considered by film scholars to be a key example of African-American filmmaking. I've seen Ganja & Hess. It's pure 70s shlock by any normal measure.
In Spike Lee's Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, African artifact scholar and collector Dr. Hess Greene is shown a stunning ceremonial dagger from an ancient civilization addicted to blood. His weirdly bipolar assistant flips out and stabs him with it shortly afterwards, launching the doctor on a predatory trip from his posh upper class sanctuary to a seedy Brooklyn night club to feed his new addiction to blood. Horrified at discovering his first victim wasn't such a prime choice, Greene then ends up at an AIDS testing clinic in this film's only obviously intentional laugh-out-loud scene. Everything else is funny because it's so bad it's funny.
This is a terrible movie. Stephen Tyrone Williams' starring performance is bland and robotic long before his character becomes a blander, more robotic and fangless blood-sucking husk. Paired opposite Zaraah Abrahams' unbelievably amateurish and hammy acting, caring about what happens to either of them quickly becomes a relentlessly unrewarding test of patience. Even the soft porn scenes are agonizing. Quietly convincing yourself Da Sweet Blood of Jesus has gotta be good because it's a Spike Lee movie brings nothing but cold comfort while this career-ending cinematic train wreck grinds through scene after lazily edited crappy scene. #brutal
Terrible writing. Terrible story. Terrible acting. Terrible camerawork. At least it's consistent. If this is really a Spike Lee movie, it's a Spike Lee movie made by the talentless doppelganger of Spike Lee. Not by the Spike Lee who gave movie fans such big screen greats as Do the Right Thing (1989) and Malcolm X (1992). I kept wanting to find clues this picture at least held an underlying artsy context worth appreciating, but sobriety got in the way. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is just a pointless, disappointing movie barely worth watching for free. Terrible! Reviewed 01/15, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca.
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is rated
NR by the Ontario Film Review Board and is rated NR by la Régie
du Cinéma in Québec.
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