Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014) Poster

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Peculiar, the worst Spike Lee movie I've seen (and I've seen most of them)
Seth_Rogue_One14 August 2015
Spike Lee is one of my biggest favorite directors so I was interested in watching this regardless of the low rating

And I wanted to like it I really did, the opening shot is amazing it has some superb break-dancers break dancing outside to a smooth Bruce Hornsby piano score, looks beautiful

But that montage really has nothing to do with the movie itself, the movie is about an upper class arts collector who by some circumstances get a thirst for blood

Mind you, if you're expecting a typical vampire horror you will probably be let down it's not really that type of movie

What type of movie it is though I can't really describe, it's just a peculiar movie that I had a hard time figuring out what it was trying to be and what it was trying to say

The dialogue is not bad but more-part of it doesn't sound realistic to what a person would say, often sounding more like theatre monologues basically

Acting overall is pretty wooden (but that could be an intentional thing being that the people in it are very posh) and pace very slow

It has some above average scenes separately but together it just doesn't get it's right flow and your often sitting wondering why or wondering what the point of it all is, and by the end of the movie (at least I) still have no idea

For the record I have not seen the movie GANJA & HESS of which this movie is a remake on, perhaps I would understand this movie better if I'd do that but if one has to watch something else to understand the movie you were watching than that would mean that this movie failed IMO

Honestly it felt like Spike Lee didn't put his whole heart into this project which is a shame, since it was funded by his biggest fans via a Kickstarter campaign
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Wow...what am I missing?
avdors13 June 2015
Spike Lee is one of the premiere directors of my generation. With that said, I am still trying to figure out the focus and purpose of this movie. The actors, many of whom, we've seen in other Lee films, are so subdued and non significant. The movie seems to lack...well, life. His career has created valuable works that have symbolically and literally offered calls for self-awareness and offered insights into the social-political realities of African-Americans and America in general. I can't figure out what significance this movie has. There are some disturbing scenes that do not seem to add any insights or purpose to the movies story. The few things I gathered from this are: rich/poor exploitation, addiction, socio-sexual dynamic, and Sankofa. The story telling doesn't offer anything new or dynamic. So, with a heavy heart, I give this a thumbs down and not let this be representative of Spikes true genius!
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Spike Lee does a vampire movie!? It's as odd as it sounds!
bbickley13-921-5866415 February 2015
A remake of a Blaxpolation film called Ganja & Hess, Dr. Green is a expert on African artifacts who after a botched murder, suicide begins a strange addiction to blood that makes him indestructible.

A very strange low key indi vampire (sort of) picture. Reminds me of last years, Only Lovers Left Alive by Jim Jarmusch, but Mr. Lee is asking me to have a far more opened mind than Mr. Jarmush did.

The premise of the movie is about an African tribe who drank blood like it was alcohol or drugs, and a doctor who begins to practice this particular custom, feeling that it's society that made this addiction stranger than all others. I did enjoy the premise of not using the Eastern European origins of what is a vampire, at the same time, Spike use this as a comp out for when people come up to him and say "your vampire film really sucks"(bad pun cause no biting went on in the movie).

For the most part, I got the Impression that the film is more about addiction and how it can drive you and the people around you. I saw a movie no different than Requiem for a Dream, but the drug of choice was blood.

It definitely had the feel of a Spike Lee film all over it. His signature style was all over This cheap independent production and reminded me of his recent film, Red Hook Summer and his first film She's Gotta have it. The Jazz composed score really help push the story along too.

So this is what that Kickstarter campaign was all about, huh? Overall, it showed that Spike still has a foot inside true independent cinema, and it was something truly different an unexpected from the maker of Do the Right Thing. I think it has the makings of a Midnight Movie cult following. Way better than Old Boy
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Not that bad
acromegalix7 July 2015
As an old fan of Ganja & Hess, i was very curious to see Spike Lee's take of this arty oddity.

Very few things changed from the script, except the part of minor characters : the slow pace, the theatrical acting and the general mood are scrupulously respected, so you must expect an art-et-essai movie rather than an usual vampire flick.

I didn't found it as bad as the other reviewers, even if I can express a few reserves : the score that sometimes looks like a sort of car play-list (the original was quite experimental), or the lack of twisted shots that made the first movie so unique.

However, I hope that it will encourage the new generation to rediscover the 73 version that still shines like a black diamond, with its strange mix of perversity and religious knick-knack.
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Absolutely Pointless Waste of Talent
chicagopoetry28 May 2015
This is one of those movies that after watching it (and while watching it for that matter) you can't help shaking your head and asking, what the heck was that? Of all the projects Spike Lee could have invested his talents on, he chose to remake an obscure blaxspoitation film in such a way that it doesn't transcend the material but just remains a modern blaxspoitation film with a rap soundtrack and all. As a horror movie it fails. Not scary. As an art-house film in fails. The acting is horrible, the soundtrack is as annoying as fingernails across a chalkboard, and the story is practically non-existent. It's not particularly gruesome. The dialogue is so poorly written it's nearly comical but not in a good way. It's just a total mess. There's no point to it. There's no point in watching it and there certainly wasn't any point in making it. I thought Spike Lee lost his mind when he remade Oldboy, but this one just takes the cake. I watched the entire thing because I'm a movie buff and just wanted to be able to say that I watched it, but honestly, it was a complete waste of my time.
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Ashanti Blues
EdgarST12 November 2016
I have loved most of the Spike Lee joints I have seen, but this time I felt much disappointed with the remake of "Ganja & Hess". To start with I still do not fathom the cult following of the original: it is true that for its time it was an innovative approach to cinema dealing with paranormal activity, and quite different from most African-American motion pictures of the 1970s, but at the same time I found its central premise a bit pompous and wordy, and many viewers' reactions a bit exaggerated. The so admired "slickness" of both versions is too ornate for me, and quite distracting: it makes the plot look sillier than it is for all its pretension that we are witnessing an "awesome" psychological drama. I have to admit though that Bill Gunn had more control over his own material than Lee: the remake is amazingly disjointed and even longer than the original, with extensive stretches of "music videos" that could have been cut without affecting the drama. As a matter of fact Lee's film contains good elements that do no blend, as Bruce Hornsby's score and varied songs so omnipresent and badly dosed that the soundtrack becomes annoying, no matter how good the composition or the tune are. Then take the beautiful opening credits sequence or the great church scene featuring Valerie Simpson singing and playing the piano, mix them with the obligatory lesbian scene, the dispensable garden cocktail for white scholars, the unexplained trips to town (Hess must certainly be a hot specialist on the Ashanti culture, but we see little of that), the trivial little procession after the wedding... and you get something very bloody but hardly sweet. Your "cultural background" will not suffer much if you skip this.
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Very Strange
gavin694212 May 2015
Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a new-found thirst for blood.

Spike Lee has made a very strange film here. Maybe because it was based on another film that happens to be rather strange ("Ganja and Hess") or maybe because it was filmed with a low budget and short on time, with relatively unknown actors... but there is something decidedly off about the picture.

Like the original, there is an ongoing metaphor about addiction. The main character is not a vampire in the traditional sense, despite an unquenchable thirst for blood. He expresses that many (perhaps most) people have addictions... drugs, money, alcohol, women... his is just different.

The Jesus parallel is played up from the original. There is indeed something strange about a man (Jesus) who asks his followers to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Christians, of course, do not find it strange. And that makes the parallel interesting... why do we recoil at one man's thirst for blood and yet look forward to drinking blood each Sunday without thinking anything of it?
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Spike Lee's deconstruction of Vampyr Character
andrealeonti19 August 2019
Spike Lee's brilliant horror deconstruction. The director skillfully mixes horror cinematography with some of his antitheses, as in the use of an extremely realistic photography, and constantly lit up scenes.

The drama of Dr. Green's life teaches us that violence is inherent to man, necessary for his survival, but ultimately harmful and capable of killing ourselves. The themes dear to the director, such as the criticism of American society and of racism towards African Americans that is overturned in an wealthy African American character, who is both victim and executioner of his own destiny, remain topical.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus it is certainly not a masterpiece, but a decidedly enjoyable film and that together with "Only Lovers Left Alive" by Jim Jarmusch offers a new, modern and contemporary vision of the cinematographically harassed figure of "vampire".
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Caught My Attention
ponddepablo18 May 2017
While I was surfing through the channels late at night due to a cold and not being able to sleep, I ran across this movie. At the end of the movie I reflected back and thought it was well put together. Beautiful actors, a story line that makes sense of just another addiction and the extremes people go to satisfy these addictions. This all coming from a old white guy with an open mind while watching this movie.
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Voyeuristic to a Fault
LeonLouisRicci29 June 2015
In this Independent, Kick-Starter Film there is much "Blackness", Typical of Spike Lee. From the Opening Non-Sequitur of Free-Style "Dancing' in the the Streets" to all of the Black Heritage with Culture Wall Hangings and "Revival Meeting" Church Whailings, there is "Blackness" Everywhere.

Even the Borderline Blasphemous (with context to the Film) Title is "Black Speak". The Film, a Remake of a 1972 "Blaxploitation" Called "Ganja and Hess", is the Story of an Upper-Class Blood Licker. It's a Beautifully Shot, Mess of a Story about, one Guesses, Addiction. But Who Knows? The Movie is so Everywhere the Message gets Lost somewhere between the Soft-Porn and the Awful Acting.

The Film's Ambiguity Sparks Over Analysis. Truth be Told the Movie is Visually Arresting and Not Much Else. It's Different, certainly Not for Everyone, and is somewhat Engaging, but the Pace and the Script are so Slow and Uninteresting that there is Never any real Connection Between the Audience and the Screen. It's Voyeuristic and Self-Indulegent, even more so than usual for the Director, to a Fault.

Overall, Recommended for Art-House Patrons, Spike Lee Check-Listers, and Seekers of Off-Beat and Midnight Type Movies.

There is an Artist at Work here, and like All Artists, Not Every Work is a Masterpiece.
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Haunting and Unique-not your cookie cutter Vampires!
Tadrick28 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The last half hour of this film is so great and quite emotional that I wish the rest of the film had the same depth of feeling. The scenes in the baptist Church and the ending in the shadow of the Cross are Great work!!! (Look- there is Lee's signature dolly shot -backwards no less)

The first half of the film leans towards coolness and detachment which seems to arise from the character of Hess and the Nantucket of the very rich. While there is a point to this, contrasting the orderly sterile lives of the wealthy with disorderly vibrant lives of every one else, it somehow works against the film a bit.

One of the most memorable and haunting scenes for me is where Hess picks up the mother(possibly an addict already) on the park bench with her child. It is his confidence and wealth that make her powerless much like a vampire's trance. When Hess is leaving and he tickles the baby's chin, we see what he has done to the mother. Now she will be a different kind of addict! When he meets the mother and child again it is clear she has fed on her child to fulfill her need for blood.

I'm not sure I parse it's meaning fully but it is definitely contrasting the old Ashanti culture's "addiction" to blood with Christian salvation by the blood of Jesus. Hess trades in his addiction for salvation by "Da sweet Blood", where as Ganja comes to embrace the old ways.

I saw the original Ganja and Hess years ago and I have sometimes remembered it in the same way as I do another early 70's original, Let's scare Jessica to Death: as a one of a kind. Dreamy, haunting , regional, low budget and also a UNIQUE take on the vampire theme. I see it's now on DVD so I will be definitely check it out again.

BTW people-I don't think Ganja and Hess is really a blaxploitation film.
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what was spike Lee thinking
lnagbe18 November 2017
this is by far the worst movie i have ever watch because of how pointless it was i also feel a shame to share the same name as the director. the only thing interesting about this movie is the dancing in the beginning. but Honestly, this movie goes against the formula because the hero is not really a hero and there is no tragedy that is overcome there is no victory instead the movie ends the same way it began in confusion. this movie is about addiction and i do understand that the writer is trying to show that all addiction is similar from caffeine to crack and hes also trys to show how all addictions will lead to a person hurting the people closet to them or getting them addicted as well. but spike Lee could have brought out all those points with a better script this movie cost 1.45 million dollars and while thats not close to the amount most directors had to work with. there are other movies that became classics that spent less movies such as Juno,Friday these were classic movies that also did not have big budget but were both great movies and truly spike lee never had a lot of budget money to us in his other movies. and after watching this movie i no why they didn't give him more money.the title of the movie does not make sense its more of trick to get you interested and the opening sermon with the fake preacher. the title is the da sweet blood of Jesus which is a old gospel hymn but the church seen preacher is not talking about the Jewish Jesus its actually referring to a black Jesus which the hip hop community has made up to rebel against what they read in scripture, i know this because i am an African American also, now also the title represent Jesus blood being spilled for the benefits of others but the movie shows this false Jesus as a murderer spoiling other peoples blood. that's why this movie should get a 2.1 IMDb rating this movie is not worth watching
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Much better than you think
JohnSeal29 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This film has been slaughtered by the critics and IMDb voters, so maybe I'm just feeling the need to play Devil's Advocate - but I don't think so. A remake of Ganja and Hess, this is one of Spike Lee's most cinematic of films, carefully lensed, well scored (albeit with music that reminded me of Love, American Style - maybe that's the point), and intelligently acted. It's the antithesis, in fact, of his previous film, Red Hook Summer, which had its good points but ultimately looked like a student film. I found Da Sweet Blood of Jesus hugely entertaining and thoroughly engaging - and c'mon, how can you dislike a film dedicated to the memory of Christopher Lee, or one so clearly in debt to the works of Jean Rollin?
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