Toronto Film Review: ‘Blood Quantum’

Variety | 9/6/2019 | Dennis Harvey
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“Blood Quantum” is a term applied to the long-standing, controversial practice of measuring a person’s percentage of indigenous heredity—and by extension, their supposed value, or lack thereof. As the title of Jeff Barnaby’s sophomore feature (following 2014’s more minimally horror-tinged drama “Rhymes for Young Ghouls”), that historic debit becomes a major plus, as the only people here miraculously immune to a zombie epidemic are full-blooded Natives living on Mi’gmaq tribal lands in northern Quebec.

This homegrown opener for TIFF’s Midnight Madness section has numerous strong elements, and the director-writer’s unforced cultural perspective refreshes some very well-trod genre ground, to a point. Still, despite sufficient gore, there’s more style than bite to this undead opus, which does not excel at scares or action set-pieces. It’s nonetheless been sold to Shudder for U.S. distribution, and should attract home-format buyers in other territories with a polished assembly that reflects its status as reportedly the highest-budgeted North American film by an indigenous director to date.

Toronto - Film - Review - Capital

Toronto Film Review: 'Human Capital'

Barnaby wastes no time springing the bad news: Old Gisigu (Stonehorse Lone Goeman) is alarmed to discover that the salmon he’s just caught are flopping around again after they’ve been gutted. Soon a dog that’s been put down is likewise back to snarling “life.” Then people stop staying dead as well.

Hours - Course - Red - Crow - Reservation

All this escalates within a few hours’ course as Red Crow Reservation sheriff Traylor (Michael Greyeyes) and nurse ex-wife Joss (Elle-Maija Tailfeathers) are dealing with the latest high jinks of their teenage son Joseph (Forrest Goodluck), which have once again landed him in the drunk tank. He got there with a little help as usual from older half-brother Alan, aka Lysol (Kiowa Gordon), Traylor’s ****-raising offspring by a previous marriage. But Joe required no fraternal assistance getting into another kind of trouble: namely, making his equally underaged...
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