Da Sweet Blood of Jesus Stephen Tyrone Williams, Zaraah Abrahams, Rami Malek. Directed by Spike Lee. Not rated. Available on demand via Vimeo.
It’s a little disheartening that a filmmaker as important and influential as Spike Lee had to turn to Kickstarter to fund his latest project, but watching Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, it’s not hard to see why no studio would want to back it. A remake of the 1973 cult vampire movie Ganja & Hess, Sweet Blood takes an obtuse, ponderous approach to vampirism, embodied in wealthy playboy/anthropologist Hess Greene (Stephen Tyrone Williams), who becomes addicted to drinking blood after being exposed to an ancient artifact. He broods around his beautiful Martha’s Vineyard estate and falls inexplicably in love with Ganja (Zaraah Abrahams), the ex-wife of the man who infected him. The meandering plot makes little sense, and the acting ranges from stilted to embarrassingly bad. Lee’s musings on race, religion and gender politics are as confounding as the plot, and they’re mixed in with gratuitous nudity and unconvincing gore. Given free rein by his fans’ money, Lee has made a movie that’s both uncompromising and often inexplicable.