“Blood Vessel” Reviews: A Roller Coaster of Emotions With an Intriguing Storyline

The Nigerian film industry, also known as Nollywood, has continued to draw inspiration from real-life events, reflecting the rich tapestry of Nigeria’s socio-political history. In 2023, several notable productions have emerged, showcasing the diverse range of narratives being explored by filmmakers. For instance, Linda Ikeji’s Dark October delves into compelling subject matter of mob (jungle) justice, while Bolanle Austen-Peters’s biopic Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti offers a unique perspective on an influential figure in Nigerian history.

One of the remarkable aspects of Nollywood is its ability to tackle nuanced and complex topics, such as Nigeria’s socio-political landscape. The portrayal of events like the oil predicament in the Niger Delta region in films such as Blood Vessel is a testament to the industry’s engagement with pressing contemporary issues. It’s interesting to note that storyteller Musa Jeffery David’s approach to Blood Vessel reflects a deliberate caution and a pseudo-political voice, which sets it apart from other productions. This careful treatment of sensitive subject matter adds depth to the storytelling, although it may differ in style from other films that have tackled similar themes.

In comparison, Curtis Graham’s Oloibiri (2016) is recognized for its satirical edge, offering a different perspective on the complexities of the oil predicament. While both films engage with the same topic, they demonstrate the diverse approaches and storytelling techniques within Nollywood. This diversity is a testament to the creative exploration and experimentation that define the industry, showcasing the multifaceted nature of Nigerian cinema.

What It’s About

Blood Vessel is a movie that deals with survival in a way most of us are fortunate enough to never know. It’s a Nigerian original film with mystery, crime, and thriller as genres and plot drivers. It all begins in the Niger Delta region.

We meet six individuals who are brought together by chance. All six end up on a ship as a final resort as they must escape for different reasons. What they do have in common is escaping a town devastated by oil pollution.

As stowaways on the mysterious ship, they feel like they’ve scored the jackpot. However, they will soon learn that a brutal nightmare has just begun. What comes next is a fight for survival that will test friendships and family bonds resulting in betrayal and chance.

Heaven of Horror

Critic Reviews for Blood Vessel (2023)

Blood Vessel is a gripping and suspenseful watch. You can’t be too sure about who survives or dies on the ship. One interesting point of reality in the film is how it proves that human existence is not necessarily always dictated by a logical pattern.

The acting is generally applaudable in Blood Vessel, with actors Sylvester Ekanem, David Ezekiel and Levi Chikere delivering standout performances. However, much is left to be desired in character development. For instance, the unnamed character tied up on the ship, played by reality show star Pere Egbi, falls flat whereas he could have been better developed and connected to the plot. Also, all of the white men on the vessel remain just as mysterious, with their identities, backstories and ties to the local authorities largely kept covert throughout.  What we can squeeze out from their conversations is that they have been involved in the illegal oil trade for  years.

Culture Custodian

In terms of production, the cinematography and visual effects in Blood Vessel are noteworthy. The film captures the stark contrast between the serene landscapes of the Niger Delta and the harsh realities faced by the characters.

The mysterious ship becomes a character in itself, shrouded in suspense and adding an extra layer of intrigue to the narrative. Also, the water shots in the movie are commendable.

One of the film’s notable strengths lies in its ability to evoke a myriad of emotions. From the opening scenes that depict the devastating effects of oil pollution on a once-peaceful community to the intense moments of survival on the mysterious ship, Blood Vessel masterfully elicits empathy, fear, and hope from the audience.

The characters, portrayed by a talented ensemble cast, breathe life into the narrative, making it easy for viewers to invest emotionally in their struggles and triumphs.

Premium Times

Visibly, the concept is striking. The movie does hook you to the screen for the initial half an hour with a strong background score and its clever emphasis on humanity. 

It is bound to resonate with the local population of Africa, thanks to the plot’s real-life settings. Though the makers must have wanted to offer a gritty and resilient product, they only succeed to an extent in doing so. 

Furthermore, the film is emotional in parts and, at times, deals a knockout blow to your senses.

Word Street Journal

Blood Vessel is a violent genre thriller that frequently devolves into uber-operatic melodrama down the stretch. It’s a bit much at times, and the way it treats its characters can be outright miserable to experience, but it mostly works. Some will find its approach to drama belabored, although unlike so many similar features, it takes some time to develop its characters beyond one-note types, so the harrowing events they endure at the hands of that psycho Igor carry some weight. 

For a relatively straightforward thriller, Blood Vessel ain’t half bad. I say STREAM IT, and either brace yourself for that dreary final sequence – or just stop the movie five minutes before it’s over. 

Decider

What truly makes this feature worth watching is the outstanding cast. These talented actors poured their heart and soul into their roles, and their commitment to their performances adds another layer of terror to an already horrifying plot. 

On the flip side, Blood Vessel has a very long-winded way of telling an otherwise worthwhile story. Plot points and details are introduced and then dropped, and there are far too many unnecessary expositional scenes. 

Blood Vessel is a very worthwhile movie from a talented filmmaker. Some elements don’t quite work, but the performances and the horrific story make this one of the scariest thrillers on Netflix. It’s hard to watch at times, but that’s probably a good thing considering its genre. 

Ready Steady Cut

TL;DR

Blood Vessel is a roller coaster of emotions with an intriguing storyline that sets it apart as a mystery and crime thriller.

Premium Times

Some scenes are a bit off or rather scattered all over the place. You can notice visible gaps in storytelling and acting awareness.

Word Street Journal

This is the bleakest, most terrifying, and most depressing movie I’ve watched all year. And that’s a compliment.

Ready Steady Cut

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