Blood Cell Finally Gets Its Chance to Thrill on TheWB

[show=bloodcell size=large]In 2008, we all got pretty excited about Blood Cell, an intriguing psychological thriller produced by 60 Frames, directed by indie film director Eduardo Rodriguez, and starring lonelygirl15 herself, Jessica Rose. And we weren’t the only ones, judging by the fact that the Blood Cell trailer has racked up nearly 7 million views since being uploaded in April 2008.
But then…nothing happened until March 2009, when TheWB.com acquired the series for future distribution; the deal wasn’t enough to save 60Frames, though, which shut down operations two months later. And that brings us to now, as TheWB has finally launched the entire series, making all 18 episodes available at once online.
Given the fact that the series was produced over a year ago, there’s a question of how it might fit in with current web trends, but the answer is “not that badly at all.” In fact, the only element that feels dated is the fact that Alex (Sara Sanderson) unironically wears an Ed Hardy T-shirt for the duration of the series.
That’s not to say the stock thriller storyline — a kidnapped girl reaches out to her best friend Julia (Rose) for help, who only has the cell phone messages sent by a deranged Bad Man as clues — is perfect. While the 3- to 5-minute episode structure keeps the pace moving forward, some sequences are far more light on plot than others; the entirety of episode 2, for example, can be boiled down to “Julia opens a box and finds some cell phone batteries inside it,” which is hardly the most edge-of-your-seat content.
But each episode does end with a deliberate, often shocking cliffhanger — even when you watch the whole series in one sitting, there’s no sense that you’re just consuming a feature film in 5-minute gulps; the structure is decidedly episodic.
And anyone who might have thought Rose’s ascent to stardom thanks to lonelygirl15 was just a lucky break should probably bite their tongue. Despite playing a fairly conventional and underdeveloped role as the girl-next-door who’s in over her head, Rose quickly shows her mettle as a confident lead who immediately enlists the audience’s sympathy.
Every episode being available at once means that if you’re the type of person to skip to the end of a mystery novel, you’re in luck. And there are some genuine chills in that final conclusion. The question is, is that conclusion worth the approximately 72-minute runtime, not to mention a year and a half delay? For me, the answer is probably not — the execution is great, but the final twist proves underwhelming. But that doesn’t change the fact that Blood Cell‘s journey, off- and on-screen, is definitely an interesting one.