Blood Quantum was originally released at the 2019 Cannes Film Market. It is now available online, i.e. via Amazon Prime rental and AMC streaming services.
It is one of the best and most original zombie flicks I’ve seen in years. Character-driven, with plenty of human drama, it is filled with action, blood and violence, and one horrendous scene I’ve never seen in any movie about the living dead.
Great script and direction, the film is set on the Red Crow Reservation in Montana, and there is some dialog spoken in the actual Apsáalooke language. The superb cast is made up of mostly Native American actors, and they deliver. Interesting to note, the director and writer is Jeff Barnaby, who was born on a Mi’kmaq reserve in Canada (Mi’kmaq being of the First Nations indigenous people of North America). He has a history of making ancestry-inspired horror films (i.e., Rhymes for Young Ghouls).
The movie takes place in 1981, when an old man gutting dead salmon notices that the fish are coming back to life, as does a dead dog. Six months later, well, it’s apocalypse time; within the first 10 minutes the film starts kicking ass. For some reason, the Native Americans are immune to this strange necro-virus, (which is, of course, never explained), although if bitten they can turn. One group of Red Crow tribesmen is trying to save uninfected white folks, while another group is using them as bait to destroy the zombies. Yes, one character uses a samurai sword (because “A sword doesn’t have to be reloaded.”), but no one uses a bow of any kind, which might have been a cliché, considering that we’re dealing with Native Americans.
There is a lot of family drama herein, too, as well as a love story. The living dead shamble about until they smell “food,” and then they attack quickly and savagely. I was very surprised by the special FX, the zombie kills and such. There are also a few very cool, old-school animated scenes that illustrate what appears to be future Red Crow legends of this zombie pandemic. I think this movie stands out above so many others and is a superb example of what a little creativity and imagination can accomplish in bring something a little new and different to the genre. If you enjoy George Romero’s films and The Walking Dead, you’re sure to like this one.
Joe Bonadonna is the author of the heroic fantasies Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser (winner of the 2017 Golden Book Readers’ Choice Award for Fantasy); Mad Shadows 2: Dorgo the Dowser and the Order of the Serpent-Book 3: the Heroes of Echo Gate; the space opera Three Against The Stars; the Sword-and-Planet space adventure, The MechMen of Canis-9; and the Sword & Sorcery adventure, Waters of Darkness (in collaboration with David C. Smith). With co-writer Erika M Szabo, he wrote Three Ghosts in a Black Pumpkin (winner of the 2017 Golden Books Judge’s Choice Award for Children’s Fantasy), and The Power of the Sapphire Wand. He also has stories appearing in: Azieran—Artifacts and Relics, GRIOTS 2: Sisters of the Spear, Heroika: Dragon Eaters, Poets in Hell, Doctors in Hell, Pirates in Hell, Lovers in Hell, Mystics in Hell; Sinbad: The New Voyages, Volume 4; Sha’Daa Toys, (in collaboration with Shebat Legion), and The Lost Empire of Sol, (with David C. Smith.). In addition to his fiction, he has written a number of articles and book reviews for Black Gate online magazine.