Rotten Tomatoes Rating: NA (Critics) / 92% (Audience)
Directed By: Spike Lee
Written By: Spike Lee
Starring: Stephen Tyrone Williams, Zaraah Abrahams, Rami Malek
Studio: Gravitas Ventures
Synopsis: Dr. Hess Green becomes cursed by a mysterious ancient African artifact and is overwhelmed with a newfound thirst for blood. He however is not a vampire. Soon after his transformation he enters into a dangerous romance with Ganja Hightower that questions the very nature of love, addiction, sex, and status. – (Source)
The opening credits featuring a New York dance named Lil Buck were really cool and this guy’s dance moves were insane. And there was an almost 7 or 8 minute rousing gospel tinged musical number that featured Raphael Saadiq (from the R&B group Tony Toni Tone!) and Valerie Simpson (the more fetching half of legendary duo Ashford & Simpson) on vocals that was great. It makes you wonder why Spike Lee hasn’t done a full blown musical. The closest he has come is SCHOOL DAZE and that was all the way back in 1988) but I think Lee would be able to put out a pretty nifty musical film.
Also this movie looks amazing from the cinematography to the locations to the costuming…everything looks like a film that was made with much more cash that Lee got from his Kickstarter fund.
The Bad: This movie was just odd. It was paced in the most bizarre ways, it featured really strange performances that alternated between restrained and over the top, the dialogue was weird and the actual storyline was damn near inexplicable. And the two leads had almost zero chemistry in what was supposed to be a “love for the ages”.
The Ugly: This film is a remake of the 1973 Bill Gunn cult gem GANJA & HESS but while that film heralded for its use of horror as a metaphor for the struggle of black assimilation in the US, I can’t for the life of me figure out what Lee’s film is trying to say.
Final Verdict: An odd mess of a movie that shows that sometimes being given free reign to make one’s artistic vision can lead to disaster. DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS is a chore to sit through and fails to make even a fraction of the impact the film it is inspired by achieved.