The title refers to a long-standing (and highly controversial) system of determining tribal citizenship based on one’s percentage of Native blood, an in-your-face choice that lets you know that Blood Quantum is not pulling its punches (or its decapitations by samurai sword, as the case may be). Written and directed by Mi’gmaq filmmaker Jeff Barnaby, this fresh take on a well-worn horror subgenre re-imagines the colonial takeover of North America from an Indigenous point of view. And from Barnaby’s perspective, fighting colonialism looks a lot like an intensely gory, wildly entertaining zombie horror movie.
We open amid an outbreak of a mysterious virus that turns everyone exposed to it into undead monsters—except for the people living on the isolated Canadian Mi’gmaq reserve of Red Crow. Faced with hordes of bloodthirsty zombies invading their land, a group led by tribal sheriff Traylor (Fear The Walking Dead’s Michael Greyeyes), his ex-wife Joss (The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open’s Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers), and their troubled teenage son (The Miseducation of Cameron Post’s Forrest Goodluck) rallies to protect their family, their tribe, and the refugees begging for their help from this post-apocalyptic menace.
Blood Quantum debuted last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival, and invades Canadian theaters on March 27. That will be followed by a limited U.S. theatrical run this spring, before the film makes its streaming premiere on Shudder. If you happen to be in NYC, you can also catch an advance screening of the film, along with a lecture on Indigenous horror from Barnaby and film scholar Kali Simmons, at the Miskatonic Institute Of Horror Studies on March 26. Tickets for that event are available here.
We’re debuting the first official trailer for Blood Quantum above, as well as the official theatrical poster for the film below.