Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014) I first heard about Spike Lee trying to get money to make this film, a remake of the art horror Ganja and Hess (1973), a couple of years back. I really don't care for the current remake machine that has been going on in recent years, but figured since barely anybody has even seen this film, he might actually pull it off if he keeps to the source material. Armed with Kickstarter funds and the writer of the original film, Lee has put together a pretty good remake/homage. Dr. Hess Green is a researcher in older African cultures. A dagger from the ancient Ashanti tribe has been found and he takes it home for further study. A hired researcher who is staying with him, totally freaks out the next morning and stabs him with the dagger, after which he commits suicide. Strangely, Hess awakens seemingly unharmed by said dagger, though seeing the blood of his former assistant he is compelled to drink it, licking it up off the floor. Thus begins a weird personal journey into why this all happened. Things get more complicated when the wife (Ganja) of his former assistant shows up looking for him. More deaths and blood drinking ensue with the good doctor philosophically trying to come to terms with it.

 

If you have seen the original film, you know the plot and it hasn't changed much here. Spike Lee along with writer Bill Gunn keeps things pretty much the same in this update. Even exact scenes are reacted but modernized. There is surprisingly plenty of explicit nudity and sex, too. They do try though to keep the proceedings a bit light at parts with some ill timed humor. I was pleased though when the blood needed to fly, it does and in buckets. I thought both leads were great, having to perform some difficult scenes throughout. I can totally see though this not being everybody's cup of tea. It's talky, loads of social commentary thrown in, disjointed at spots and the soundtrack is bizarre, very eclectic

 at times...a hip hop song for 2 minutes, followed by classical, followed by light indie rock. It was a strange film to begin with and Lee may have made it stranger (there are some parts that I am trying to figure out why he included them). I really did like this across the board though and for the low price tag (under $2 million) they got a lot up on the screen, worth more than a look...I am kinda of surprised more people are not talking about it.

 

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus Movie Review

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by Dave Koenig "A Fiend On Film"

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