In light of widespread cinema closures as result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shudder has rerouted from their planned Spring release for Blood Quantum from writer & director Jeff Barnaby (Rhymes for Young Ghouls) and in a surprise move the film will roll-out on all Shudder platforms on April 28th at Midnight EST.
In many ways Blood Quantum from First Nations director Jeff Barnaby that first premiered as the Opening Night Film of the Midnight Madness section at 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, parallels our current global contagion crisis.
It’s 1981 and a virus infects earth and turns its inhabitants into undead hordes with only one community spared and left to fight in this distinctive and relevant spin on the zombie siege horror.
The dead are coming back to life outside the isolated Mi’gmaq reserve of Red Crow, except for its Indigenous inhabitants who are immune to the zombie plague. Traylor (Greyeyes), the tribal sheriff, must protect his son’s pregnant girlfriend, apocalyptic refugees, and reserve riffraff from the hordes of walking white corpses.
The film stars Michael Greyeyes (True Detective, Fear the Walking Dead); Forrest Goodluck (The Revenant, The Miseducation of Cameron Post); Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga); Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open); Olivia Scriven (Degrassi: Next Class & The Next Generation); Revered MMA trainer Stonehorse Lone Goeman Brandon Oakes (Rhymes for Young Ghouls); William Belleau (Frontier, Scalped); Devery Jacobs (American Gods, The Order, Rhymes for Young Ghouls); and Gary Farmer (Dead Man, Jimmy P).
“We knew the film was important and timely when we acquired it last year, but given recent events, Blood Quantum’s themes of isolation, fear of contagion, and humanity struggling with the ramifications of a global virus have only grown more relevant,” said Shudder General Manager Craig Engler. “When a theatrical release became untenable due to the real-world pandemic, we decided to accelerate the launch of Barnaby’s film so it would reach the biggest audience possible.”
Jeff Barnaby is a First Nations filmmaker born on the Mi’gmaq reserve, where both Blood Quantum and his debut feature, the cult-hit Rhymes for Young Ghouls, take place. He is the writer, director, editor and composer of Blood Quantum, which opened TIFF’s Midnight Madness program in 2019 to both audience and critical acclaim. His films frequently cast from within the Indigenous community and paint a stark and scathing portrait of post-colonial Indigenous life and culture – in this case, painting it in blood.