Blood Money stars John Cusack, Ellar Coltrane, Willa Fitzgerald, and Jacob Artist and is about a group of friends who gather for a weekend getaway in the forest. Through river rafting and bonfires, they hope to reconnect and rekindle their friendship however they have some differences amongst them that make the trip conflicting. While floating down the river, Lynn finds several duffel bags full of cash that don’t belong to her. Finding the cash quickly turns the wilderness excursion into a test of outrunning a criminal determined to retrieve his cash.
For the first 30 minutes or so of Blood Money, I was enjoying the simple storyline with interesting characters and a relaxing atmosphere. I was proven wrong once I learned more about the friends and their backstory and determined that their dynamics were too complex. The film sets up Lynn, Victor, and Jeff quickly and it feels very predictable right away. Jeff and Victor are both interested in Lynn but Lynn is only interested in Jeff. We learn quickly that Victor and Lynn had a fling towards the end of their senior year in high school and he can’t seem to get over those unrequited emotions. The relationships were very chaotic and once they find the bag full of cash the tension amongst them really shows who they are.
John Cusack plays the “bad guy” in the movie and has a hard time handling the role of a villain determined to retrieve his money. John Cusack is a fantastic actor, but not one moment in this movie did I believe his role. He’s a pretty bad shot and repeatedly fails while trying to steal back his money and that just adds to the fact that Miller was a horribly written and unbelievable villain. Although Miller is a terrible shot and an out of shape guy, the cat and mouse scenes were entertaining at least. A lot of it involved thrilling chase scenes through the woods or down the river accompanied by moments of fantastic directing. Even though I found some of the characters and story to be weak, the chase sequences were a high note.
The Georgia locations filmed for this movie look very detailed on this Blu-ray transfer. There are many moments that showcase the forest and river that the trio is spending time at. The last act of Blood Money lacks a strong presentation because it takes place in an abandon mill that’s dark and fairly hard to see.
Since Blood Money is shot mostly outdoors, the sounds of the river and crunching of leaves are captured nicely. The movie does get a little violent at times, but the gunshots are rendered cleanly. The dialog was captured cleanly as well which was surprising because the outdoor scenes had a lot of conflicting background noise which can get in the way.
The Blu-ray release doesn’t offer many special features besides fun footage of how the river raft scene was filmed.
Early moments in the film were enjoyable and it seemed like a fun and harmless movie, but I think the writers tried to tack on too many complex levels for the characters that made for an annoying film to watch. John Cusack’s was a poorly written character and the more I saw of Lynn the more I found her to be infuriating with the choices she was making. As the film went on, the more complex it got and tried to add more onto the characters. It was easy to watch despite being predictable and poorly written. One thing I know for sure, I don’t like John Cusack playing a villain.
Lionsgate generously provided Hotchka with a Blu-ray of the film for reviewing purposes.