Friday, May 26, 2017

Blood Bound – review

Director: Mason Booker

Release date: 2007

Contains spoilers

I found Blood Bound on YouTube and it is clearly a low budget affair – however it did have a couple of things going for it as well as some issues. The biggest issue was a moment of initial sloppiness where an intertitle reads “Abanoned Warehouse” – honestly 13 seconds in, it didn’t leave a good first impression and such a lapse has an on-running impact on the viewer.

There are two versions of the film, I understand. A DVD (apparently, I couldn’t track it down) carries a director’s cut, of slightly longer length, but I suspect the version on YouTube was the “Meat Market Cut”, which is slightly shorter.

going through the warehouse
So, after the wonky titles we get some “thick” black and white. The film contains a lot of memory scenes that are in black and white and both these and the colour scenes have a “thickness” to them that feels like the film was shot on older filmstock – though was possibly digitally realised. There are two cops Alex Murnau (Alex Szele) and Jacob Coleridge (John Hermann). Jacob has received the tip off about the warehouse. They enter (with little stealth), with back up going in as well, and find a body. The warehouse contains a female vampire, Alexandria or Xan (Toni Martin) and she is way too fast for the two cops and kills several of the uniformed backup. She tastes Jacob and realises that he is the reincarnation of her long-lost lover Charles.

Mary Morales as Claudia
Cut forward ten years and Claudia (Mary Morales, Dark House) is studying at college. She is approached by Ed (Kevin Swatek) who would like to take her photo for a project. Her roommate Victoria (Amanda Kuchta) approaches and flirts mercilessly with the flustered photographer – despite having a boyfriend, Lance (Chris Bell). Victoria is always trying to get Claudia to live a little, though the other girl is still sore over her ex, Eric.

Jacob and Xan
Cutting to the story's chase, as it were, Alex lost his job as a cop and left his wife (Dawn Lawrence) and child to keep them safe. He now works with a Priest called Cooper (Jim Henderson) killing vampires and doubles as a PI. Jacob was turned and is now back in town with Xan, they have a diabolical plan set in motion (I’ll get to that in a second). Ed is a minion for Jacob and uses his photographs as a pictorial menu for Jacob, inviting those chosen to the club Meat Market. Victoria, coincidentally is Alex’s estranged daughter.

Alex Szele as Alex
Phew… and I did like the effort that the filmmakers went to in drawing characters, for some of them. The convoluted relationships worked, especially with the flashbacks (blood forces the victim’s memories onto the vampire) and we discover little things like Jacob was having an affair with Alex’s wife when they were both cops. Other characters were absolute ciphers, Claudia is 2-dimensional, for instance, and Lance and his friends are barely even that.

getting cross...
So, what I liked most about this was some of the lore. Some of it didn’t work and that was around the diabolical plan. Essentially Jacob has found the body of a creature known as the Fallen (who has a Gilgamesh backstory) and with the help of the Count (David R. Hucke) and some demon minions they intend to revive it. However I liked the idea that trees held such a sacred part of many religions that wood was needed to stake a vampire as it symbolically tapped into the spirit of creation. More interesting was the blood memory lore, or a twist thereof. Of course such lore has been done before, however Alex gets the blood of a demonic minion and makes a dirty bomb that showers the vampires with the blood causing them pain as they relive the creature’s memories. I thought that was clever.

feeding and fuzzy
Not clever enough to save the film, unfortunately. Beyond the bad first impression was the fuzziness of the visuals throughout, leaving them sometimes barely watchable. Plot contrivances didn’t help – Victoria is rescued by her dad, freaks out and leaves him to go home to mom… then just turns up back at the church ready to fight the good fight with no in-between scene or dialogue that made it believable. Indeed, despite good backstory elements for some of the characters the actors were just not good enough to pull it off necessarily. The father/daughter relationship failed to have that nuance that made you believe in it in general.

That said – a good idea goes a long way and I have seen worse films. There are good bits to this that can be carried forward by the filmmakers and 3.5 out of 10 might seem a tad low but I don’t regret watching the film.

The imdb page is here.

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