In the famous Psycho shower scene, Alfred Hitchcock used chocolate syrup to depict the blood of Janet Leigh running into the drain. But ask any viewer afterwards, and they’d swear they saw red blood in a black and white movie.
Five days after watching Logan for the first time, I’m not sure that I saw any splattered blood when Logan (or any of his other bladed cohorts) killed somebody. The film was unquestionably violent, and certainly earned its R rating, but I’m not sure it’s use of blood was entirely realistic.
How the violence was treated is a deliberate choice and its a credit to the filmmakers that they were able to depict such visceral scenes without feeling the need to be gory. But I also wonder how this reflects on how we perceive violence. If somehow good acting and staging is perceived as more realistic than the excessive bloodsplatter that one might find in John Wick even if that blood is closer to what we would see in real life.
Think back to how Reservoir Dogs was reeived when it came out years ago. Criticized for being too violent, in reality, the film only depicts a handful gunshot deaths, and the infamous ear scene was entirely off screen. Far less blood than one would find in a substandard action flick, yet far more impactful.