Only a pulp hero would have a name like Vincent Brady, and Bad Blood is a film very much in the mold of dark and dangerous crime fiction. Vincent Brady (played by Xavier Samuel) is both hero and antihero of the Aussie thriller. He is a novelist with a traumatic past, and a present in which he is very much in love with the beautiful Carrie (Morgan Griffin) and beset by his agent's (Elena Carapetis) urging that he "write the fucking book" and stop trying to ride the wave of his lone literary success.
A dark shadow emerges from out of his past, though, and when Carrie agrees to go away with Vincent to the country, she finds herself in the thick of a wicked war of jealousy and revenge.
The first act of Bad Blood is intriguing. Filmed with a dark lustre and with Samuel turning in an subtle, knife-edge performance, the promise of mystery is undeniably tantalising. There is something almost Hitchcock-ian in the teasing snatches of what lies beneath. Problems arise, however, when those teases become more than just glimpses.
The story's central conceit is revealed so early into the film that the remaining hour of Bad Blood winds up quite predictable. The fact of the matter is, though, that the premise is ultimately so thin that even if it were saved as a shocking reveal, it likely wouldn't be able to carry a film that so wants to be a poetic and dark tale of the duality of man. Barrelling toward its conclusion, there is next to no tension.
Bad Blood ultimately plays out in such a prosaic way that audiences expecting a satisfying mystery thriller are robbed of a proper denouement - something to defy expectations or otherwise throw the events into a wholly different light than how they were originally presented.
The cast perform well, and there are a few scenes that do manage to summon some real dread, but they can't overcome a story steeped in cliche. Perhaps if Bad Blood didn't seem to take itself so seriously, it could have some wrung over-the-top menace or genuine frights out of the story, but in the end it's a just another thriller.
Bad Blood opens at The Ritz Cinema, Randwick on Thursday October 12th.