Monday, November 06, 2017

Blood River – review

Director: Christopher Forbes

Release date: 2013

Contains spoilers

Christopher Forbes was the director and creative force behind the film Vampitheatre, a film that generated a soupçon of blog controversy when a one-time commentator stated, “Ignore the blogger's attempt to make this film seem palatable in even the smallest way. It's an insult to the genre.” Ouch – except I rather liked the film and, without sounding too big headed, it’s my opinion that counts on this blog.

You see, the film might have been amateurish, especially around some of the acting, but it was a mockumentary of the band and any awkwardly delivered dialogue looked no more and no less than a musician caught in the headlights of a film camera when it’s not their bag. Unfortunately, Blood River hasn’t got that excuse and needed a more professional level of acting, dialogue and, frankly, story.

We begin with a couple in the woods, with their blanket on the ground… we see they are being observed by a woman, who we later discover is Annabella (Destiny LeDonne). She breaks a twig, causing the girl to start, and then throws a branch. They decide to leave and she pursues them through the woods, acting more like it’s a sadistic game than a hunt. Eventually they meet a cop (Gene Faglier), Annabella appears behind him and tells him to shoot them. He kills the boy but can’t kill the girl – Annabella rebukes him and appears in front of the fleeing female. We see her fall with multiple bleeding marks on her neck.

charred Isabella
We cut to a house and, in what we guess is a basement, we see the cop hanging from a rafter… or at least his upper torso. His legs are missing but he is still alive and the wound doesn’t really seem to gush with blood. It is slow enough for Annabella to casually fill a chalice! She gives the blood to a woman who lies, her body looking like it is charred and burnt. Later we will discover she is Isabella (Jezibell Anat), Annabella’s mother.

Linnea Quigley as Agnes
A car drives down the road and the passenger, Tina (Amber Stalene), performs fellatio on the driver, Todd (William Adams). He breaks suddenly, avoiding crashing. They are approaching “God Boy’s” house as Todd calls his friend Godfrey (Stephen D. Schwartz) and they are due to go to a concert. Godfrey’s mother, Agnes (Linnea Quigley, Vampitheatre and Nightmare Sisters), is concerned about him going to the place of sin and deprivation. Here we have an issue, dressed in the most prudish dress they can find, it is incongruous that she would have a piercing over her upper lip. Linnea Quigley also plays a vampire’s servant in 19th century flashback scenes and the piercing remains and seems just as idiosyncratic.

having a guest for dinner
Talking of which, the film then goes back in time and we see the vampire house, as an establishing shot, looking as dilapidated 150 years before in 1865 as it does in the contemporary scenes. Isabella runs a coven of vampires and they are eating women fleeing the civil war, though pickings have been slim. We note that Isabella and Annabella don’t have fangs, whilst their companion vampire does.

suicide cop
Anyway, Todd picks up Tina’s friend Kat (Kimberly Campbell, also Vampitheatre), Kat’s brother Kevin (Christopher Bowman) and Sally (Melissa Huff), a random woman Kevin picked up the night before. They set off for the concert, become lost due to a shortcut, and almost crash as Annabella appears before them in the road. She vanishes, knocks on the window and asks for a lift. Despite her vanishing act and the fact that she is essentially wearing only lingerie, Todd assumes she is going to the concert and gives her a lift. After a brief encounter with a cop (Who is mojo’d by Annabella and then psychically caused to kill himself by Isabella) they break down and Annabella gets them to call a tow from the nearby town of Blood River. A place where the one guest house is… you’ve guessed it… the same dilapidated house.

vampiric tentacle
I won’t spoil anymore but it apparently takes a long time to heal from blood spiked with holy water – which is what has left Isabella charred, when fed it back in the civil war. Agnes knows something is up and goes to save her boy. The townsfolk are complicit, and why wouldn’t they be when the vampires can cause your head to explode “Scanner” style. But the other thing to note about our day-walking vampires is that, whilst they can turn a person into a fanged vampire, they have two tentacles that emerge from under their dresses to sucker the blood out. However the effect around said tentacle is a bit rubbish.

papier-mâché corpse
This was a consistent problem, to be honest. For every well down “blowing your own brains out” there is an awful looking papier-mâché corpse. But the worst bit about this was the dialogue and acting, which was consistently poor. At least Linnea Quigley appeared to be having as blast as Agnes, chewing up the scenery (probably to get the taste of the dialogue out of her mouth). The whole thing dragged along, bringing its incongruous elements along for the ride. Over all, not brilliant. 3 out of 10 is probably overly generous but Agnes the vampire slayer made me push the score up.

The imdb page is here.

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