Written by: Matthew Pope & Don M. Thompson
Starring: Bethany Anne Lind, Will Patton, Elisabeth Röhm, Jared Ivers, Jimmy Gonzales, Jack Andrews
Mothers have all the responsibility in the world when caring for their children. They’re the ones who bring them into the world and must live with how they end up, especially in those challenging teenage years. Regardless of what occurs the mother will always be the mother. Blood on Her Name puts a specific mother through a heart wrenching circumstance and must try everything in her might to get out of it.
With a dead man in her garage, Leigh (Bethany Anne Lind) makes the decision to not call the police and instead gets rid of the body. In a final moment of guilt, she decides to take the corpse over to the man’s family secretly, which only makes things worse as her plan begins to crumble.
Opening with a distressed-looking Leigh with the dead body surrounded by a pool of blood, this film puts the audience right into this predicament without a warning. With the pool of blood, a wrench lays on the floor and it can be put together that Leigh had something to do with this man’s death, it involved a wrench, and she needs to decide how to move forward. Her decision to wrap up the body and erase the evidence leads her down a treacherous road and the rest of the film answers the question of how the man died and specifies exactly why Leigh decided to get rid of it rather than call the police.
Starting with such a jarring incident with no context, this film begins with a puzzle for the audience to uncover. Based on the cuts on Leigh’s face, it appears a physical struggle was involved but the identity of the man remains unclear and exactly what occurred does not get fully revealed. A major factor of this persistent uncertainty comes from Leigh as a character and how she does not share honesty with any of the other characters, including the audience. The only person who knows exactly what took place that night was Leigh and she’s in no rush to tell anyone the truth. On the surface, it appears to be a case of self-defense, as Leigh can hide the body but cannot fully cover up the bodily injury she endured from the scuffle. As the story continues to unfold, it plays out in a matter you do not see coming but makes complete sense when taking in the entire story. This narrative decision makes every conversation between Leigh and any other character intriguing in order to see what she divulges and as different reasons and justifications arise, it becomes clear the full picture has not been shared as of yet.
Much of the struggle in Leigh’s situation arises from her circumstance and how she needs to care for her teenage son and run this garage with not much assistance from others This has led to her burning the candle on both ends and finds herself with a struggling business and a son having to meet with a parole officer. What her son, Ryan (Jared Ivers), did to land on parole does not get divulged but for a teenager to be in this predicament does not indicate the best of decisions. With her husband in jail, she needs to manage it all, which becomes a large focal point. Even with all of this contributing, the film never loses sight of what occurred in the garage at night and how Leigh’s efforts to cover it up continues to fall apart, thus forcing her to have to confront what transpired.
Bethany Anne Lind does plenty of heavy lifting in this demanding role, as she needs to do so much emotional work in hiding back what occurred while also trying to figure everything out. The real anguish of guilt and shame really make their way through in her performance. She finds herself in the middle of making life-altering decisions but it never becomes clear to the audience why she continues to refuse to come clean. Truly startling work as she keeps the story engaging with the camera spending so much time on her face and how she reacts to everything occurring as her life comes crashing down.
The flaw hampering Blood on Her Name appears in the pacing and how it felt long narratively even with the incredibly brief runtime. It displays unnecessary moments that do not necessarily align with the character that could have been cut, but it’s already shorter than most movies already. Otherwise, this film provides such a thrilling experience from the beginning to the closing shot in displaying guilt manifested through the actions of this woman and how it eventually lands her in a position where she needs to make some drastic decisions. A small but thoroughly entertaining movie and one to watch if one feels in an investigatory mood.