As with many directors from his generation, Spike Lee was once a household name who has since fallen on hard (creative) times. His more personal projects have failed to produce much critical or box office interest, while his “safe” films like Inside Man and Oldboy have been more successful, but arguably less interesting. Lee’s latest effort, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus looks like it’s a melding of the personal narrative with the vitality of his more commercial works.
The film tells the story of Dr. Hess Green (Stephen Tyrone Williams), who is cursed by an ancient African artifact that gives him an incredible thirst for blood. He’s not a vampire, though, as the official plot synopsis tells us. He embarks on a relationship with Ganja Hightower (Zaraah Abrahams), in a narrative that focuses on the nature of addiction, religion, sex, and status in contemporary society.
The first trailer for Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is certainly intriguing, although it does not fully clarify what Dr. Green experiences if not vampirism. Actually, it gives very little sense of what the movie will be about. But there are obviously Lee’s requisite elements of race, culture, and status at work here, all melded together in what looks to be a very weird, very intense film.
Lee actually funded Da Sweet Blood of Jesus with a strong Kickstarter campaign, so it seems that this movie will once more operate outside the mainstream. If the trailer is any indication, we are in for a rather interesting experience, devoid of any major stars to distract us from the bizarre central story.
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus will premiere in theaters and on VOD on February 13. You can watch the first trailer above and see if you think that Lee will prove once more to be the groundbreaking filmmaker that we know he can be.