Posted: 05/29/2003


Eternal Blood [Sangre Eterna]


by Del Harvey

Sangre Eterna is a role-playing game—or is it? When Carmilla notices another young Goth at her school named M, she will do anything to get close to him. The fact that there are vampires and horrible beasties on the periphery mean little compared to her interest in the boy.

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Directed by Jorge Olguin, Eternal Blood/Sangre Eterna is an updating on the old Mario Bava horror films, complete with plenty of gore and antiheroes in unusual circumstances. The cinematography and artistic style of the film shine, and the characters really come to life in the second half. The film would have greatly benefited from some judicial trimming during the first 30 minutes. However, if you stick with it, it does pick up and pays off in the end.

The early developmental scenes, which are really visual representations of the three friends M (Juan Pablo Ogalde), Elizabeth (Patricia Lopez), and Martin (Claudio Espinoza) in the midst of the role-playing game, serve up some nice imagery but tend to confuse. The crossover between these scenes and the real story is so similar as to be almost indistinguishable. However, once Carmilla (Blanca Lewin) enters their world, and they meet up with the enigmatic Dahmer (Carlos Borquez), the story picks up and we are drawn into their world of gothic horror and survival.

There are some good moments in Eternal Blood/Sangre Eterna, including the role-playing scenes where our heroes become vampires and are hunted down by shotgun-wielding Catholics in black-and-red robes. Some of the special effects are very good and quite gripping, while some of the cosmetic work combined with certain lighting simply shows the flaws in production. Still, Sangre Eterna manages to reach the same conclusions most vampire films do: they’re all bloodsuckers and we will all do what is necessary to defeat them.

The story takes a few interesting turns, most of which center around Carmilla and M. There is a subtle shift which takes place approximately mid-way through the film, when we trade perspectives with Carmilla and M. The daring ploy works, and helps us to become more invested in a character who is so wrapped up in maintaining aloofness for the beginning of the film that we wonder what she can possibly see in him.

Eternal Blood/Sangre Eterna is ultimately a good little vampire film. You can pretty much fast-forward through the role-playing scenarios without losing much at all of the story, and the second half is what you really need to see, anyway. Rent it or buy it if you love horror films and yearn for the good old gore days of Mario Bava.

Eternal Blooe/Sangre Eterna is available from MTI Home Video beginning June 24th.

Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.

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