"Fake Blood" is a clever hybrid of earnest first-person documentary, gory B-horror and metafictional mediation. Director Rob Grant's slippery presentation muddles his point — if he has one — but it's fun to guess at what's a put-on.
Taken at face value, "Fake Blood" is about what happens when Grant and longtime filmmaking partner Mike Kovac receive a video message from a fan, who'd been inspired by their slapstick splatter flick "Mon Ami" to film himself buying the tools to dispose of a corpse.
Unsure if the video is "real" — and if they're responsible for how their work may have influenced a killer — Grant and Kovac embark on a project designed to look at the damage violence does. Along the way, they meet a man involved in a killing and the brother of his victim, and find themselves in the middle of a blood feud.
Throughout "Fake Blood," Grant toys with the audience by staging reenactments of some of the stories he hears, then pulling back to remind everyone he's only filming actors. Thanks to this repeated gimmick, after a while, even Grant's documentary footage starts to feel phony.
If "Fake Blood" is fully fictional, that would be mildly disappointing, if only because the movie ends in a place nowhere near as compelling as where it begins. Yet even at its most confounding, this is a challenging and entertaining film, delivering suspense and drama even as it's asking if it should.
Running time: 1 hour, 21 minutes
Playing: Monica Film Center, Santa Monica