Blood Cousins (2012) – By Philip Smolen

Brothers Stevie (Joel Settles) and Ray (Regan Arevalos), and cousins Von (Larry Garza) and Eric (Jess Castro) have decided to go visit their grandmother’s grave on the 16th anniversary of her death. They all pile in Ray’s car and head out to South Texas, but not before making a few stops along the way back. All through the trip the four reminisce about growing up together and about their freaky relatives. After finally getting to the cemetery, the young men pay their respects and then head out to their cousin’s house. But it seems that the cousins are not too happy to see the group. And before long, old wounds and resentments rise to the surface. And as the night drags on, the cousin’s world turns dark, scary and bloody.

“Blood Cousins” is a wild and bizarre feature film made in Texas by Comedia A Go Go, a comedy troupe located in San Antonio, Texas. Written and directed by three of the main cast members (Regan Arevalso, Jess Castro and Larry Garza), the film starts out as a genial family comedy and then later veers off into deep horror.

The road trip part of the film is a lot of fun as the four cousins stop at local restaurants, rag on each other and generally try to out machismo each other. There’s an easy going and natural chemistry between the four main characters and their dialogue has an uncomplicated and engaging bounce. You can see why each of them truly does love each other.

But after they visit the grave of their grandmother and go to their cousin’s house, the film turns dark and creepy. The relative’s home is run down and filthy and they’ve turned one room into a religious shrine. It’s very unsettling and the violent turn that the film makes is disturbing and horrifying.

“Blood Cousins” reminds me a lot of some of the local indie horror films from the 1970s where perfectly normal and happy people innocently visit a locale where horror waits just below the surface. It’s a solid horror entry, but be forewarned. Some very nasty things happen to some nice characters.

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