In “Blood Moon,” there is a type of shorthand that isn’t particularly inventive, but it does help get key ideas across with minimal effort. At first glance, the wall calendar with a date circled in ominous red marker appears to be a clear indicator. But as “Blood Moon” progresses, it becomes clearer and clearer that these decisions are motivated less by a lack of subtlety and more by demonstrating Esme’s unwavering and all-consuming desire to protect her family. The interior of their house, as well as the overall emotional tenor of the film, begins to brighten the longer she keeps her local bartending job and the closer the couple gets to putting down roots.
Those details also point to the fact that “Blood Moon” isn’t solely motivated by fear. Esme and Luna are both aware that their monthly preparations are critical to their survival. Still, the monotony of completing the remaining four-week chunks is the most dangerous and uncertain part. The straightforward manner in which “Blood Moon” depicts Esme’s various checklist processes removes a lot of the unnecessary mystery and refocuses those energies on the family story. The other residents of town seem smaller in comparison to Esme and Luna’s natural back-and-forth.
The tiny interactions and snippets of those other personalities in “Blood Moon” don’t get much narrative real estate to turn them into much more than plot mechanisms. There is one exception: a character who appears early in the story and is a welcome presence whenever he appears. And the lone set of flashbacks do an excellent job of contextualizing Esme and Luna’s journey with limited information.
However, the last few pieces fall flat in terms of bringing things to a natural conclusion. Given how much of “Blood Moon” is locked into Esme and Luna, this makes sense. This emphasis suggests that this is a story more concerned with the realities of parenting than with dealing with the unexplainable.
Even the most diligent parents make mistakes, whether it’s taking on more than they think they can handle or giving their children a leash that’s too long (as it were). No one in “Blood Moon” is infallible, which is a significant point given the stakes.
Instead of the other way around, the outcome is something that flows like the best of the “Into the Dark” chapters: a grounded tale with a few fantastical layers. All episodes of Season 2 of “Into the Dark,” including “Blood Moon,” are now available to stream on Hulu…
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