Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Blood Reunion 3: Hunters – review

Director: Jim DeVault

Release date: 2015

Contains spoilers

I was taken with the first Blood Reunion, it was flawed but interesting nonetheless. Unfortunately the second film failed to capitalise on this. Set in the same universe it seemed disconnected to the first film (bar the character Morgan Locke (Jim DeVault)). However it took a step backwards quality wise and was a poorer film for it.

I was expecting this to join the dots between the first two films and it did that certainly. Indeed it started with a lot of footage from the end of the second film as a backstory. I did say in that review that it “raises questions about the motivation of Morgan Locke that are at least intriguing (and presumably film number 3 will examine those)”. It did, at least to a degree.

Robb Hudspeth as Phillips
So, after the film 2 footage (and a Nietzsche quote) we get a black screen and a knock at a door, a voice says come in and there is a request for light. Sat, drinking in the dark, is Nathaniel Phillips (Robb Hudspeth) and his visitor is Det. Rance Barry (Tim Newkirk) – Barry was the cop in the first film and this gives us a definitive link back. He is investigating a set of murders (those from the second film) and found a journal belonging to Gaston (the hunter in film 2). It mentions a Nathaniel Phillips. For his part Phillips denies knowledge of both Gaston and Locke when asked. Barry leaves and Phillips gathers a bag of stakes from his bedroom, returning to find Barry still there. There is an admission that he is a hunter and Barry tells him that he wants nothing to do with vampires anymore but wants Phillips to do his job.

Phillips contemplates
We get a shaky establishing shot of a house (the camera work never hits the terrible moments of film 2 but the shaky camera is noticeable here) and inside meet Vanessa (Donna Hamblin). She is a realtor on the phone to her lover, Cal (Luc Bernier, A Blood Story), whilst she waits for the new tenant to arrive. That tenant is Phillips and the house seemed too furnished, with personal knick knacks and pictures, to be a house for rent. But never mind. Phillips describes himself as an exterminator.

Jim DeVault as Locke
That night a woman, Nyght (Shawna Mudaly), leaves her car and walks over to her house. A note about names… most of the characters are not named in the dialogue and just as well as the character names in many cases are not good – Nyght being a prime example. Anyhoo, she picks up the post (there is a note from husband Cal that he is ‘working a double shift’) enters the house to be confronted by Locke, who mesmerises her and then vampirises her.

Carly Capra as Izzy
Elsewhere in town Izzy (Carly Capra), a vampiress who was turned by Madeline in the 2nd film and denied Locke, is walking through town. She is grabbed by two men intent on mugging and raping her. She breaks free and kills one, Lyon (W.M. Bacon), by slitting his throat. She then breaks the legs of the other, Wolf (Travis Steele), and feeds from him. As she leaves she tells him to enjoy the sun – Phillips later picks up on this kill in the paper.

Ashley Spicer as Shayde
We then meet Shayde (Ashley Spicer). She is in the bathroom as her (abusive) partner Kevin (Michael W. Green) orders her to the store to get him a pizza – in barely audible dialogue over Kevin’s shower. Phillips follows her randomly, hoping she’ll prove to be bait, and is attacked by Izzy – who thinks he is a vampire. She has been killing vampires as she searches for Locke to put an end to his evil ways, herself only feeding on bad guys. This leads to an uneasy alliance and burgeoning friendship between hunter and vampire under the common goal of killing Locke. As for Shayde, she wanders straight into Locke who vampirises her. And here we get his motivation.

We discover that Locke is some 250 years undead and, when alive, was an excommunicate in a region with the plague. He locked himself in his castle and had an orgy with and then murdered his servants and killed himself. Being a murderous, excommunicate suicide he turned into a vampire (he was not turned by another). His only motivation seems to be to create harems. There is a third victim, Dakota (Sarah Kate Allsup), and he puts them all in red dresses and Lords over them. The reason he let Izzy go was that she broke away from his will. Why he turned Madeline (and what that says about the character) is not answered and I leave for your own conjecture.

biting Dakota
So. It was better than the second film. The camera work seemed better, if not brilliant, and the scope of the story wider (ie not confined to one house and one night). Locke was able to pluck stakes out of his chest and I liked the solution to that. The locations were not all brilliant (there was one with a strange blue edifice before it, that looked digitally drawn and made no sense) but better than the house used in film 2. The dialogue wasn’t the best (indeed Locke’s dialogue was very unnatural) and most of the acting of a B level. Robb Hudspeth had the most challenging role, stepped up but struggled at times. I was taken most by Ashley Spicer because, as Locke bit her, she managed to facially make me believe that she was experiencing both pleasure and pain.

Shayde feeds from Dakota
One aspect that I found very noticeable in this film was the sparsity of soundtrack. Extremely unobtrusive incidental music was used but whole passages of the film were without any musical soundtrack at all and this added a strange sparseness to the film that didn’t do it any favours. The first film was flawed but kept me interested, the second film had some very sloppy photography and was overly simplistic (it was no more than 10 Little Indians). This stepped up from film 2 but didn’t get to film 1. 3.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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