Addiction, Recovery, and the Road to Redemption: We go beyond the surface scares and explore the deeper meaning behind Blood Punch.
In Inspecting the Horror, we look beyond the details of the set and focus more heavily on the story and the messages the story is trying to tell the audience. Dig deeper into the film and discover more meaning, more significance, and perhaps a different opinion.
In Blood Punch (directed by Madellaine Paxson and written by Eddie Guzelian), a young man breaks out of rehab to follow a mysterious bad girl into an easy drug score. But when she lures him to an isolated cabin with her psychotic boyfriend, their simple love triangle quickly descends into a mind-blowing supernatural cycle of carnage and mayhem with no end…and no escape.
What Makes ‘Blood Punch’ Scary?
Perpetual Madness: Having déjà vu is one thing, but having to relive a horrible day over and over again does take a toll on a person’s sanity.
Major Changes: Overcoming an addiction ultimately means becoming a new person and adapting a new lifestyle. That thought is petrifying to individuals who’ve only known one way their whole lives. Sometimes they don’t adapt well enough and sink back into the tide.
They Won’t Stay Dead: Imagining murdering your abusive, psychotic partner out of self-defense. Now imagine them coming back the next day, as if nothing happened. Victims of abuse would undoubtedly find themselves in a terrible panic and feel the fear once again until their partner is finally gone.
Sacrifices are Hard: There are a few decisions that must be made in Blood Punch. Some of them are personal, some are for the good of the group. The sacrifices of the film are tainted with fear and anger, but eventually resolve to be acts of selflessness.
Believe the Lore: Similar to Pet Sematary, ancient curses play a part in Blood Punch and show the characters a horrendous past and a very bleak outlook on their attempts of escape. Hearing is one thing, and believing is another, but actually experiencing the supernatural makes a person question their mortality and morals with one whirlwind of confusion.
Dissecting the Messages
This is a story of addiction above all else. The protagonist (Milton) is a recovering addict, and the events that spiral around him are all results of his choices. The addict is stuck in a cycle- literally and figuratively in the film. Milton’s addiction led him to his rehab stay, to meeting Skyler, and to ending up at the cabin (the symbol for the actual cycle/addiction). He’ll forever be in that cabin unless he breaks the cycle of the ancient Native American curse — and the cycle of his addiction.
Throughout the exposition, Milton goes through different stages of fighting it. He accepts it, divulges it, fears it, and then comes to hate it. Feelings of hopelessness and confusion run rampant until the will to thrive becomes stronger and he wants to leave that cabin. This juxtaposes with what an addict would feel when they reach rock bottom or an equivalent event, and they want to get clean. He has setbacks/relapses but still proceeds tirelessly.
Despite every single thing he’s tried, he can’t break the cycle…until he figures out what he must sacrifice.
Addicts often find friendship in their suppliers and turn true friends into enemies. In the case of Blood Punch, both ‘friends and enemies’ must be out of the protagonist’s life to rid himself of the addiction. His relapses can be attributed to Skyler, the woman who broke him out of rehab, so he could cook meth for her and her boyfriend. Milton felt he had nothing left to lose by going with her — he also felt that he could save her.
Skyler is the perfect example of an enabler. She’s a fellow addict and one that knows who to manipulate her way to getting what and who she wants. She disguises herself as a friend and a lover to get her fix.
In her case, she’s not willing to make the sacrifices that Milton is and harms everyone around her by her selfish mindset.
The addictiveness of unhealthy relationships is also represented in Blood Punch, shown in the hostile love triangle that’s bent and pulled during the entire run time. Unfortunately, this leads Milton to make the only choice he thought he had.
Both the characters of Skyler and Russell symbolize the duality of friends and foes in the eyes of an addict. They’re acting as partners, dealers, friends; they’re also justifiers and the reason why the habit continues.
The conclusion of the film shows the consequences of both Milton’s and Skyler’s choices. Milton is free of both his addictions and got out of the cycle by changing the choices he made the majority of his life and turned his back on it all. Skyler, however, made the wrong choice to the very end, and she’ll remain in the cycle until she decides she truly wants to leave it. They both left destruction in their paths, but only one felt remorse for it.
If you’ve never suffered from addiction, it can be trying to imagine what it feels like. You often hear words like ‘hopeless’ and ‘pointless’ spoken by those voicing their struggles, but the connection between an addict and non-addict can be hard to spark.
Blood Punch personified the battle of addiction into a black comedy filled with viscera and myths that will undoubtedly serve as a speaker for those who can’t quite convey how it feels to be stuck in their own cursed cabin.