Blood sports are a divisive subject, and one that spans class, gender and location, all over the world. Badger baiting, fox hunting, deer stalking, snaring rabbits and other domestic animals, dog, cock, or bull fighting are all considered enjoyable, even noble pastimes by a surprising amount of people.
Clashes between animal rights protesters and pro-hunt lobbyists have been going on for decades, and have become increasingly violent and more personal, with dead foxes being left on the doorsteps of hunt saboteurs, physical assaults, and even stabbings, while fur wearing, pro-hunters, have been daubed with red paint, physically attacked and have even hired private security firms to accompany them on their jolly little blood spattered outings.
It has led to a real underground war of extremists, which escalates quickly; and due to many illegal hunts still being low priority to the police, the clashes between the vigilantes and hunt saboteurs offer no real solutions and more blood on everyone’s hands.
Personally, I think that if you’re starving in the wilderness, or being attacked by a wild animal and you have to kill something to survive, then you have to do what you have to do kid; but hunting down an innocent life for sport or for that wonderful excuse of ‘managing the land’ makes you a soulless, piece of scum and I hope reincarnation exists just to bring you back as toilet paper.
Not that I am biased on the subject or anything …
I believe in fighting for what you believe in, but extremism is never, ever good, because however noble you think your cause may be, it becomes so twisted and gnarled, that in the end, the lines between you and your enemy become so blurred, that you can barely tell the difference.
Blooded is an interesting little mockumentary centred on the 2005 UK fox hunting ban and the little groups that are publicly denouncing, and continuing to lobby against it. Lucas Bell, the young and handsome face of the pro-hunt campaign, organises a deer hunting trip for an awkward group of four other friends which include his estranged brother Charlie, on the desolate island of Mull.
The tension between the group is the very least of their worries, when they wake up in their underwear spread out across the island, while animal activists turn the tables on the merry shooting party, by sounding the familiar sound of the horn and chasing them down with guns to make their point. I wonder how they like it?
It is an extremely interesting watch. Thought provoking, emotive (whichever side of the fence you happen to be on in this debate), and scripted beautifully. For such an under the radar film, Blooded is really a diamond in the rough, surprising, and incredibly well acted. The location is a character in itself, becoming dangerously close to stealing the show in some scenes, but the wild landscape adds to the idea of the futility of this extreme human war on cruelty, that sadly, has no end in sight.
I did enjoy this film, a lot more than I thought I would. It’s well considered and absolutely dripping in irony, though I did feel that it was not unbiased and leaned on the side of the pro-hunt a little too much. I’ve gotta say that watching someone who you just saw gut a stag for pleasure, running scared in their pants and bleeding, didn’t make me feel empathy, so much as wishing for a little more cruelty. It could have been a lot more extreme in my eyes, because there was a definite disappointment with the lack of violence and the damp squib of an ending.
If you want to push boundaries that’s fine, but in horror, it is always better to smash them to smithereens, and to remember the golden rule.
Humans are always fair game in horror.