Film Review: Blood Quantum (2019)

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The story of “Blood Quantum” begins in 1981 on the Red Crow Indian Reservation in Quebec, Canada.

Blood Quantum movie poster. (IMDB/Website)

When fisherman Gisigu discovers gutted salmon that come back to life, he immediately calls his son Traylor, the sheriff on the reservation. Traylor, who just came back from the station where he had to shoot his dog who got extremely sick after eating poisoned rat food, decides to burn the fish.

Along with the fish, now the dog he killed an hour ago also becomes a zombie; from there onwards, the movie tells a typical zombie apocalypse genre story where except for those who have Indigenous blood, everyone else whom a zombie bites become one.

From a political perspective, the movie is retelling much Indigenous history both explicitly and implicitly with a switch of roles; for example, when the colonizers came to the native land, they had brought so many diseases like smallpox, measles, or flu that were highly spread among the Indigenous population and most of the colonizers were immune to these diseases. In this film, Indigenous people are immune to this zombie infection and the white people are chasing them after getting infected with the zombie virus.

There are also scenes where the last group of Indigenous people is chased through the church graveyard and the close shots provide glimpses of crosses, Catholic churches, and residential schools which traumatized Indigenous people.

Initially released in 2019, Blood Quantum has won seven awards at the Canadian Screen Awards including the Best Screenplay award. It was also the runner-up for the People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

If you enjoy a zombie apocalypse movie or if you respect and want to learn more about Indigenous perspectives, this film should be on your dream list, and I will highly recommend it. This movie is showing tomorrow, October 28, at the Ganong Hall Lecture Theatre.