Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Death Factory Bloodletting – review

dvdDirected by: Sean Tretta

Release date: 2009

Contains spoilers

I looked at the movie Death Factory as a ‘Vamp or Not?’ That film was a shot on cam effort with a load of disposable teens, Ron Jeremy and a creature that had been created by a chemical contamination, we were unsure is she was alive or dead (she was certainly hardy), she had funky eyes, claws and talons made of metal and needed blood. Having decided that was a vampire film – genre unusual as it was – this sequel falls straight to review.

For sequel it is and although Brad Sykes, who wrote and directed the first film, does neither in this, Alexa is back – though this time played by Michelle Mousel. She is the same metal enhanced blood fiend as before (actually there is some minor lore expansion that we’ll get to) but most else has changed. It is a new factory, the disposable teens (and Ron Jeremy) are gone and the film owes much to the Hostel series.

Michelle Mousel as AlexaIt begins with Ana Romero (Claudia Vargas) making a video, if you are watching this – she says – I am already dead. I am sure that the surname of the character was no coincidence. Cutting back 6 months we see a man, Denny (Noah Todd), driving a van whilst listening to evangelist type radio. He seems to be agreeing with what is being said. He reaches a decommissioned brick factory. Inside the factory are four homeless adults and a baby. He gives them sandwiches and then notices a syringe. He kills the four adults for being junkies. He then takes the baby to the van and gives it to Alexa who is in back. We get a shot that shows us she sees in a red tinge. A flash up on screen says that he is big brother and she little sister.

Then we jump forward 6 months. A girl is chained in the factory, she only wears panties. A flash tells us that she is Jane Doe (Shareese Hegna) – the object. She has whore written on her hands. Over a tannoy he tells her that prostitution is a sin and we see that Alexa is forced to watch extremist religious programming. The girls is killed by Alexa.

David C Hayes as Rubber LoveGetting right up to date we go back to Ana. She crushes a pill, boils it down an injects herself between the toes (there is a reason for this extreme home made pain killer). We discover that her daughter had been kidnapped and used in a kiddy snuff film and she has spent two years tracking down the killer. She has become a major trader on an illegal marketplace called Gorehouse – under the pseudonym Massive 9. The paedophile goes under the name Rubber Love (David C Hayes) and they have both been invited to a bloodletting – essentially an invite only live snuff event.

White Manson and Black JohnsonAna goes to the meeting place where she is gagged and bound, having given her user name and two passwords, and taken to the factory. It is clear that the person taking them is Denny – though he wears a balaclava. This is where the film owes something to Hostel. In the factory are White Manson (Shane Dean), a Nazi, Black Johnson (Kareem McRoy), a white slave trader, Slutty baby (Jeanna Cocker), an extreme acts whore, Gretel (Nadine), a dominatrix with her slave Hansel (Joth Andrews) and anarchist Cockmaster (Josh Bingenheimer) – as well as Rubber Love and Ana. They all have paid to see an extreme killing but this twists the Hostel formula and they are to be the ones killed.

Claudia Vargas as AnaAna manages to slope off and retrieve a gun that she had stashed in an intimate area – hence the pain killer I assume – and take out Rubber Love but Alexa had already been released and Denny, along with his assistant Sid (Timmy Ponticelli), have set this up to kill the sinners – as well as running Gorehouse to find said sinners. There isn’t much to say, except that the film does play with the loyalties between individuals in quite nice ways, until the end which I have to semi spoil because of the lore insight.

Noah Todd as DennyWe see, through the film, that Denny has programmed Alexa using implants in her ears that give audio punishment and inflicting extremist religious views on her constantly. He forces her to punish herself at times. He is actually her brother – not mentioned in the first film – and does not suggest she was a researcher at the Dyson factory but intimates that she was a test subject for their compound – designed to heal wounds and kill pain. The trouble was the test subjects all developed anaemic shock – hence the blood drinking, though flesh eating seems more the aim in this film.

the compoundWe also discover that the blood itself is not enough to keep them going – they also need the compound. Whether this is just to heal wounds (Alexa is given some when she is injured) or generally wasn’t all too clear. However Denny has a supply of the chemical. He was obviously a religious nut before he found her and, when he did – presumably after their sister was killed ala the first film – he decided to use her as an instrument of God’s wrath.

Ana turningNow the ending spoiler. Because there is still the compound available other creatures such as Alexa can be created. Ana is injured and manages to get a dose of the compound. The reason I mention this is because it shows how these are created, by the individual spewing blood from the mouth as the compound takes hold. Very soon Ana’s eyes change, her vision has shifted into red and she is now one of them. She is still able to think, remember and speak. She is also capable of rational thought.

reminiscent of 30 Days of NightObviously she doesn’t have the talons or teeth – they are man made (I’m still assuming Alexa made them for herself). However there is no loyalty between them and Alexa and Ana end up attacking each other. This I mention because we see how such a creature can die. Alexa ends up impaled – which brought to mind the idea that a vampire would be staked, traditionally, not to kill it but to immobilise it, and then has her head sawn off. Beheading seems to do the trick.

creature visionSpoiling that aspect of the end does not spoil the twists, however, which were fairly nicely done – but the ending seemed to rumble on and on and the last bit seemed an adjunct to the ending too far. The film is better shot than the original, though it is by no means perfect and, by the very nature of the subject mater it touches on, it is a lot darker.

However, that is as much a problem as a plus. The annoying teens might be gone but we do not really have a focus to cheer on. Most every character is nasty… we want them all to die. The obvious character to cheer on is Ana – but she became the very evil that killed her child in order that she might find her child’s killer and has become the moist prolific trader in disgusting media – what about every other exploited innocent that she traded in to get to the bloodletting? This is underlined in the fact that she not only became a monster in actions but physically also becomes a monster. The film answers this by showing us more of Ana’s video log/confession where she suggests the end justifies the means – this made her, to me, as unsympathetic as every other character.

AlexaI was quite taken with Claudia Vargas performance, however, and felt that Shane Dean did rather well also. However there were also some mediocre to poor performances in the film as well.

The film, for the faults, kept me entertained – which is the main point – if not enthralled, at least until the final adjunct to the movie. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Dustin Lowry said...

What do you want for a $6,000 budget? We did the best with the minimal funds available. You have to admit, it's better than gay porn.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Dustin - at £6k I am impressed with what you did... however I'll say that 4 out of 10 (just below average) is not a bad score for a low budget film and refer you to my closing comment "The film, for the faults, kept me entertained – which is the main point"