40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
FILM -- Da Sweet Blood of JesusSaturday, May 16, 2015Zena Horror
A remake NOT reinterpretation of the 1973 cult classic Ganja & Hess. Just call the film what IT is and stop with the reinterpretation.
Recently, I was able to check out Spike Lee's Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, which he asked fans to contribute $1.25 million through Kickstarter. He was inspired by the Veronica Mars movie fans and decided if they got free money, well, why on earth couldn't he? Back to this film. Mr. Lee describes Da Sweet Blood of Jesus as "a funny, sexy and bloody love story". He exceeded his goal and raised $1.4 million to do whatever his little heart desired. So, you're probably wondering if this film is worth watching?
The film starts off with something very familiar, it's a dancer on the streets of New York who is moving to Bruce Hornsby's score for this film. Instantly, I remembered Rosie Perez irately pounding the air with her body, dancing for the opening credits of Do the Right Thing. Rosie's moves were suppose to represent anger and perhaps sexiness. It was pretty cool that Spike did the complete opposite with this film. However, I'm not too sure how the dancer and even the opening went entirely with the FILM. Yet, I did see how it goes with what Spike is a fan of. He's big on the New York Knicks and, of course, Red Hook, Brooklyn. I guess some people may look at it as he is identifying himself through the film, but it just brings it back to my first observation; What does it have to do with the entire film?
Moving on, we meet Dr. Hess Greene (Stephen Tyrone Williams), who is an all around, intelligent upper class individual. He enjoys fine wine, art and an elevated level of privacy at his beautiful, isolated home. He is particularly interested in Akan art, which originated among the Akan people of West Africa. His life is pretty much in complete control, until a brawl with his unstable colleague leaves him punctured by an ancient Asante cursed blade. This causes him to die and then wake up as if nothing happened. Hess understands what just happened to him, but he feels amazing and completely reinvigorated. He looks for his colleague who stabbed him but soon discovers the man surrounded by his own blood, dead and naked. Although Hess feels refreshed, he has a strong hunger for blood. Due to this urge, Hess lays down near his colleague to lick up the blood. Hess doesn't seem to mind that his colleagues butt cheeks are in the dead center of the camera. I couldn't help by look. I don't get why he was naked! Was it supposed to be funny? Well, I laughed anyway because it was awkward.
From then on, Hess goes around in search of blood in the city! He even violently killed and sucked the blood from a woman who kind of looked like Romeo Miller with a mushroom haircut and a speech impediment. To make matters worse, the woman said to Hess "You killt'ed me!" I was completely thrown off by the quote but whatever. Then, he stole blood from a hospital and even prowled on impoverished women in the Brooklyn projects.
Eventually, the dead colleague's wife, Ganja Hightower (Zaraah Abrahams), contacts Hess in search of her husband. Upon meeting Ganja, Hess is intensely attracted to her. As the two grow closer, Hess cannot hide his blood addiction towards her. Eventually, Ganja discovers Hess' secret and instead of running down the road screaming, she joins him. This wasn't surprising to me because she has such a strong personality. I'll stop right there because I do not want to spoil the rest of the film, especially the ending.
I thought Hess' character was interesting but not interesting enough. He had a blood addiction no doubt and enjoyed going around sucking the blood out of women no one would miss. This was supposed to be an emotional part of the film, but I didn't have any emotions towards it. Hess was supposed to be rich and displayed this through delivering a bouquet dollars to women. However, as the viewer, I didn't really sense his wealth. If done correctly, he could have been like a vampire lover boy who got ALL the ladies. Perhaps Hess was supposed to come off like a guy who would take care of these women in all aspects, but once again I just didn't get that. On a positive note, the actors and actresses did a great job. I really enjoyed Zaraah Abrahams. She's gorgeous. I love how she's so classy and caring toward Hess but she treats his butler like crap.
I thought Da Sweet Blood of Jesus was extremely disappointing and seemed a bit rushed towards the end. Spike doesn't consider Da Sweet Blood of Jesus a vampire film which is pure insanity to me. Is this film NOT a remake of the classic 1973 Blaxploitation Ganja & Hess?! Um...it is! Therefore, it IS a vampire film! Sure, the characters do not have fangs, hide from the sun or sleep in coffins, but they are still interested in blood. Most vampires are, it's their drug, it's their addiction, it's what keeps them immortal. I feel Spike always makes his films more complicated than they're meant to be. It's as if he could make a 20 minute film about a tangerine falling from a bush and as viewers, we just think it's about a tangerine falling from a bush; but no, we are wrong. Spike will insist that it means that the tangerine wants to be an orange. Really? That's fine and dandy. We all have our opinions and views but that's just ridiculous and way too extra for me.
I absolutely loved that Spike tried to do a horror, I'll give you a sticker and a half a cookie for the effort but that's about it. Overall, I cannot recommend Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. Feel free to watch it so you can stare at Zaraah Abrahams or listen to the vibrant soundtrack. Spike has a good ear for music, perhaps he should start picking out music for other filmmakers.