I honestly can't believe that this film isn't more highly rated. Claude Chabrol could be described as something like a French Alfred Hitchcock, and while this film is only the second one of his that I've seen (the first being Le Boucher),I can already see that this guy is something special just on the strength of these two films. The film is a French and Canadian co-production, and takes place in Canada. The cast is made up of British and Canadian stars and the high quality performances bode well with the rest of the film; most of which is high quality also. The film is a murder mystery and begins when a young girl covered in blood is brought into a police station. After being questioned by Inspector Carella, it emerges that the young girl, Patricia, and her sister Muriel were attacked by a man who killed the sister and only just allowed Patricia to flee. However, as the investigation goes on, Patricia goes back to the station to give new evidence, which reveals a far more shocking identity to the murderer.
The performances in this film are excellent. Donald Sutherland is subdued as usual, but he suits the role he's given here very well and I wouldn't hesitate to name his performance in Blood Relatives as one of his very best. The film also features supporting turns from British stars Donald Pleasance and David Hemmings who both give good turns; Pleasance in particular who shows just how great an actor he can be and highlights what a shame it is that he went on to waste himself in Halloween films. The unknown Aude Landry also gives a great performance in her role as Patricia. The movie is very mysterious for the first hour and really keeps the audience hooked. When Inspector Carella discovers Muriel's diary, the film turns into more of a drama in which the girl's last actions are shown; and while this section of the film is not as good as what went before it, it's still interesting and leads into a great twist at the end! Overall, Blood Relatives is a great film that really deserves to be better seen. Le Boucher is a better known effort from Chabrol, but for my money this is at least as good! Highly recommended viewing.
Montreal: Late at night the teenage Patricia flees into a police department, covered all over with blood. She states together with her cousin she took shelter from rain in an entry way on their way home from a party, when an unknown man threatened them, forced her cousin to perform oral sex and then killed her. Patricia could barely escape. The police starts searching among the known sex criminals - but then Patricia changes her statement and states her brother Andrew, who had an affair with his cousin, was the murderer. Inspector Carella doesn't quite believe both the statements.—Tom Zoerner
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