A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The importance of protecting those you love and the perils migrants endure to arrive at safer lands. The dangers that come when a land's natural resources are exploited, leaving inhabitants with nothing.
Positive Role Models
Abbey shows resilience and courage by looking after the woman he loves and protecting her from her own family. He also shows the importance of teamwork on the vessel, as he guides the others as they try to survive.
Although the film has a Nigerian cast and features several female characters, they are all mostly put in "damsel in distress" situations, particularly Oyin, who goes through pain and peril in almost every scene she's in. Although this partly reflects the problems faced by Nigerian women, the suffering is extreme to the point of becoming unwatchable. The film mentions some Nigerian myths and legends.
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Violence & Scariness
Countless scenes involving blood, guns, and moments of brutal violence. At least two characters get shot in the head. A man is skinned alive. A man slashes a woman's throat before being shot. A python wraps itself around a man. In addition to the violence, there is an emphasis on showing the suffering of the characters, particularly women, who constantly beg for their lives, and even the lives of their unborn children.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A woman's breasts are seen in a non-sexual moment. The male characters are shirtless throughout most of the film. A couple has sex, but only their shadows are seen.
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Someone is called a "half-breed," which is used as a derogatory term.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Men hold whisky bottles, people drink alcohol during meals, and some characters smoke cigarettes in the background.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Blood Vessel is a 2023 Nigerian thriller. The film is extremely violent, and there are many murders (at least two people are shot in the head onscreen), bloody scenes, a python wrapping itself around a man's neck, and an emphasis on the suffering of the female characters that sometimes makes the film feel unwatchable. A woman's breasts are seen in a non-sexual scene, most of the male characters spend the film shirtless, and there is a sex scene in silhouette. Characters drink and smoke cigarettes. Someone is called a "half-breed," which is used as a derogatory term. Positive messages include the importance of protecting loved ones, protecting natural resources, as well as raising consciousness about the perils faced by migrants. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A Nollywood legend in his own right, director/producer Moses Inwang has delivered some of the grittiest films in the country's history while pointing to societal issues that deserve wider attention. With Blood Vessel, however, his knack for the melodramatic runs away with him as he delivers a piece that borders on the unwatchable due to the gruesome suffering he puts his characters through.
Young and adult viewers alike will most likely be shocked by the villainous Igor (Alex Budin), whose outlandish cruelty is depicted in such a way that it takes away from the message Inwang wants to deliver about the violent treatment of migrants. A scene in which Igor waxes rhapsodically about the pleasures of skinning an animal, only to learn he's about to do it to a man, belongs in the Saw franchise. Although movies don't need to convey hope in desperate situations, the absolute hopelessness of Blood Vessel will leave viewers in search of calmer waters, if they haven't abandoned the ship halfway through.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.