Blood Widow (2014)

Do you remember the 90's? Stylized horror with villains who were at the end of some of the most elaborate twists in film history. Victims that knew exactly what was going to happen next because they knew all the "rules" of horror films. Well many horror purists hate the 90's due to the over produced nature of the films and lack of believability (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer?), there was value in the tropes that were established. Films like Scream, breathed life into a genre that had been taken out back and shot by innumerable terrible sequels.

The 90's ran their course and we headed into the new millennium on the back of a new genre, the ridiculously titled "torture porn" genre. Films like Hostel and the Saw sequels pushed the limits of gore, and some would say good taste. And well there is a movement sweeping through indie film making to try and recreate the 80's, certain films are not going back that far. They are nostalgic for that time when grunge ruled and I was in college with a little touch of me struggling to pay student loan debt post-college.

It's in that vein that we meet a photographer who stumbles upon a creepy old house . He enters starts taking pictures and is quickly dispatched by an unseen killer. Which allows us to transition to Blood Widow proper.  The film begins in earnest, as most horror films do, with a bunch of young 20-somethings, gathering together. The macguffin this time is purchase of a house by Hugh (Brandon Kyle Peters) for his girlfriend Laurie (Danielle Lilley). She's not too happy with the fact that house is out in the country. She's also not too happy that the house is a bit of a fixer upper. But what she's really not happy with is the fact that Hugh has invited all his friends for a frat party type rager at the new house without bothering to inform her.

Our main core group of folks arrives before the party and immediately discover, that as much as Hugh and Lauries house is a fixer upper, it's nothing compared to the house next door. It takes them roughly 35 seconds before they decide to leave Hugh and Laurie and explore the old creepy house, the same house our photographer friend sadly never left in the pre-credit sequence. Said old, creepy, house lives up to it's rep as, well, an old creepy house. But before shit can get's party time!

What follows is one of those movie type parties that us nerds would dream about all the cool kids having while we were home reading Lord Of The Rings for the 10th time. If you've seen one of these, you've seen them all. This one has a bit of sub text as Laurie thinks Hugh may be regressing to his college frat boy ways. The earthy girl tries to hook up with the vaguely Asian guy, but he's hooked on the trashy Jersey slut whose boyfriend is obivious. Earthy girl drops some acid, is rejected, and slinks away to the creepy old house. You can figure the rest out.

The next morning there are clearly many folks lying around passed out on the floor, but Hugh and Laurie ruminate on the one extra car in the driveway. I hate shit like this. It's grating. Maybe one of the folks passed out on the floor drove the car? It's not rocket science. Still, it's a minor problem, but I'm a bit of an asshole, so I;m gong to point it out. That, and the ADR is pretty bad here. Some of the film sounds like it was recorded on professional equipment, the rest like it was recorded in what is known around these parts as "early Van Halen." The final little problem with the film is the fact that Hugh and Laurie (Hugh Laurie...coincidence?) keep going on and on about how much the house is a "fixer upper" when it's really not that bad.

Back to the film...pretty standard stalk and slash rules follow, but this time with a dash of torture porn thrown in for good measure. The good news for you, the viewer, is that the film is extremely well done. It certainly does not feel, outside of a couple performances (and the aforementioned ADR issues) like a small independent film. Most of the cast is acceptable to good, with special mention to Danielle Lilly who manages to be a pretty damn good "final girl" despite spending the entire third act in nothing but a t-shirt and black panties.

The other main standout feature of the film is its effects. From the design of the killer, to the weapons that are used, everything actually makes sense. The blood and gore are actually practical, and damn they do look good. Blood looks like blood, guts look like guts, cuts look like cuts...and not a shitty CG effect to be found anywhere! I swear to go the next film I see with CG blood that looks like someone spilled red crayon on my television is going to face my wrath. Not sure what that means, but it will be rather wrathful.

Written by Chad Coup and Ian H. Davis and directed by Jeremiah Buckhalt, Blood Widow is a slick looking, well acted, bloody good time. It hit DVD on June should check it out. It's not Citizen Kane, but it's certainly worth an hour and a half of your time.

***1/2 stars out of 5

AS always...thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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