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Blood Runs Cold (UK DVD)

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Blood Runs Cold UK DVDStarring Hanna Oldenburg, Patrick Saxe, Andreas Rylander, Elin Hugoson, Ralf Beck

Directed by Sonny Laguna

Distributed by Chelsea Films


Look, I’ll be honest with you, I was planning on staying away from the Evil Dead comparisons when it came to reviewing Blood Runs Cold, but quite frankly, this is one instance where the comparisons are inescapable. No, this is no zombie flick; this is as basic a slasher as you could get. The comparisons I’m referring to here are the film’s sense of fun and the scope of its ambition: This is a film that wears its micro budget status on its sleeve – adding to the charm for anyone who has fallen in love with a low budget shocker in the past. It’s a shame, then, that it lets itself down by faltering on some simple hurdles.

Winona (Oldenberg), a successful young professional, takes her boss’ advice and drives out to a cabin to get away from the pressures of city life – a cabin that happens to be located back in her home town. Her first few hours at the cabin are far from bliss with unnerving, mysterious sounds emanating from upstairs. A little spooked, she heads to the local bar for a bit of company, bumping into an ex-boyfriend and his friends. She invites them back to the cabin to catch up and share a few drinks, and during the night the source of the ominous sounds becomes clear as the group are attacked by a frost-covered stranger in an overcoat wielding a large axe and a terrifying thirst for human flesh.

Over the course of my reviewing adventures, I have come across many a straight to DVD turkey that has more business being a coaster on a dinner table than it does in your DVD collection – some victims of poor writing, others seem to stretch what little budget they have way too far and others, well, let’s just say they shouldn’t have even bothered picking up a camera in the first place. Long have I hoped for a modest shocker that does its best with the meagre budget it has, not pretending to be something it’s not (The Asylum, I’m looking at you) and ends up being bloody good fun. It would seem in this little Swedish-made production we have found such a film.

Make no mistake – those of you reading this expecting a balls-to-the-wall shocker to rival the best Hollywood has to offer need not pick this up. Remember, kids, this was knocked up with a measly $5,000 USD. It’s what it does with what little it has that is so impressive here. After a short drag during the opening scenes where we spend time with the main characters, the film picks up the pace and becomes a highly energetic house of horrors slasher. Unfortunately, the performances are lacking, and that’s being generous, with Oldenberg in particular ruining a lot of the pivotal scenes (surely you could find someone better than this, guys?). During one scene, our heroine discovers the headless corpse of one of her friends, and her reaction is on par with finding a spider in the sink. Another sees a character discovering a bloody finger in the snow and tossing it aside like he’s disappointed it wasn’t a cigarette butt he could finish. There are way too many plot holes for my liking.

Those of you who like your slashers much more polished with post-modern in-jokes and a sexy, all star cast will probably be far more unforgiving – this is as rough around the edges as you can get, right down to the masked villain who is sometimes genuinely creepy (one scene in particular is finger licking good) and in other moments just a man in a mask. Sure, Blood Runs Cold is nowhere near perfect at all, but this is a step closer to the oft-teased return to ‘old school horror’ that folks like Adam Green continue to dream of. For those of you who think back to the low budget horrors of the Seventies with an affectionate grin, you could do way worse than this modest little production from Sweden. Blood Runs Cold is short, sharp and nasty low budget slasher fun!

Accompanying the film on this Chelsea Films release is a decent micro “making-of” documentary that spends time with the miniscule crew and is pretty informative for those intending to get their own shoestring production off the ground. It would have been great to hear a commentary, though. Aside from the obligatory scene selection that’s it as far as extras go. The overall presentation is pretty crisp considering the whole thing was shot on a tiny Canon 7D digital SLR.

Special Features

  • Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
  • Film

    3 out of 5

    Special Features

    2 out of 5

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    Friends Don’t Let Friends Review – A Haunting Mixture of Psychological Turmoil and Brutal Supernatural Horror

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    Starring Brittany Anne Woodford, Jenny Curtis, Kanin Guntzelman, Brendan McGowan, Jake White

    Directed by James S. Brown

    We all like to think of ourselves as being surrounded by friends, but let’s face it, if we were to ever truly hit hard times, there are probably very few, if any, people we could truly rely on. So on some level, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film we can all relate too, as it deals with this very issue.

    Stephanie is an emotionally unstable young woman who strangles her boyfriend to death after he insults and breaks up with her. She calls her friends to help her dispose the body out in the Joshua Tree National Part area, and instead of reporting her to the police, they reluctantly comply. As their car breaks down, the four friends find themselves alone at night in the Californian wilderness with the rotting corpse in need of disposal. Given their dire circumstances, they begin to become more and more aggressive towards each other, and this was where the film was really at its best. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how far the limits of their friendship could be stretched, and who would be the first to crack and turn on the others.

    Anyway, their body disposal endeavor soon proves to be a mistake, as Stephanie’s ex rises from the grave as vengeful zombie demon thing with claws as long as knives. I’ll admit, I first I thought Friends Don’t Let Friends was going to be a movie purely about the limits of trust, so I was pretty surprised when the supernatural elements came into play. And when they did, the trust and friendship elements of the plot were somewhat downplayed in favor of a more traditional horror approach, and while it was still entertaining, I still would have preferred for the film not to have strayed from its initial path. At least the ending came as a shocker. I won’t go into spoilers, but let’s just say the even the most attentive viewers probably won’t see it coming.

    As you can probably guess from a psychologically-driven film of this kind, the performances were top notch, with Brittany Anne Woodford being on particularly top form as the manipulative and unstable Stephanie, a character who revels in the revels in the power she felt when ending another human life.

    With its mixture of psychological turmoil and brutal supernatural horror, Friends Don’t Let Friends is a film I would certainly recommend, but keep in mind that it may make you think twice when confiding in people who you think of as being your friends.

    8 out of 10.

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    Coulrophobia Review – One of the Most Entertaining Killer Clown Films in Quite Some Time

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    Starring Pete Bennett, Warren Speed, Daniella D’Ville, Roxy Bordeaux

    Directed by Warren Speed


    The word ‘Coulrophobia’ refers to the fear of clowns, and if you happen to suffer from it, you might want to avoid director Warren Speed’s film of the same name. However, if you can stand the sight of clowns with gaping wounds in their manly parts, then you’re in for one heck of a fun time.

    An all-female hockey team get lost deep in the Scottish woods on their way to a match (don’t ask), and are captured and forced to participate in a series of horrific games by the Grock family of clowns. All of the members of said family are absolutely fucking insane, but the one that really stood out was Twitch (Pete Bennett), who wears jester cloths and it said to have a short attention span. He longs to be a violin player and wishes he could blend in with normal society like the other members of his family. And you almost feel sorry for him, even though he’s a mad killer with bells on his head.

    Director Warren Speed also appeared as Milo, a grunting mute who had his tongue cut out when he was a boy. As mentioned above, we see a close-up shot of a open wound in his penis being stitched up, which is not an image that will be leaving your mind anytime soon. Speed is clearly fearless when it comes to his art.

    Inter-spliced with all the torture and mayhem, we also see documentary-style telling the sad history of the family involved, and this was where the film unfortunately faltered, because these scenes seemed out of place and just didn’t flow with the rest of the plot.

    Ultimately, however, Coulrophobia almost seems like a film Rob Zombie might have made before he lost his way and started churning out trash like 31. Comparisons to House of 1000 Corpses are inevitable, and I absolutely mean that as a compliment. This is one of the most entertaining killer clown films in quite some time.

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    User Rating 2.95 (19 votes)
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    The Gatehouse Review – What Is Found in the Woods Should Be Left in the Woods

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    Starring Scarlett Rayner, Simeon Willis, Linal Haft

    Directed by Martin Gooch


    Now while no one will sneeze at the prospect of bringing up a bit of a rebellious child alone, it’s those damned kids that like to tempt fate by pissing off creatures in the woods…oh kids, they do the funniest things, don’t they?

    In Martin Gooch’s moderately spooky presentation, The Gatehouse, a struggling writer named Jack (Willis) finds himself behind the 8-ball following the tragic drowning death of his beloved wife, and if that isn’t enough to torque your drawers, his young daughter, Eternity (Rayner) is becoming quite the salty soul herself. Unfortunately the little one has been finding herself bullied at school, and her recourse of sorts is to simply toss attitude around as if it was pleasantly acceptable. Her pastime has become lonely wanderings in the deep woods, digging for hopeful treasures…and we all know what problems reside in the woods, don’t we, horror fans? Well, Eternity’s father is attempting to re-start his writing career with a frightening backstory – taking the reigns on a novel that was abruptly ended when the author committed suicide, and supposedly the tome is quite the dark piece of literature.

    Eternity’s never-ending quest for fortune and glory in the forest leads her to a most interesting (and ultimately) dangerous discovery (don’t sweat it – I won’t spill it for you). Bottom line here is this: the little girl has taken possession of something that should have been left in the friggin’ woods, and now someone (or something) wants it back PRONTO. What follows is a lackluster series of “spooky” events, and far be it from me to say, I’ve seen creepier stuff watching the evening news. Gooch then tries to bombard the audience with a plethora of instances and swerving plot direction – it’s fun at the beginning but can grow a bit tiresome over a duration.

    Performance-wise, both Rayner and Willis play the perfect combination of mentally-shot dad and determined-to-be-independent daughter – their scenes are ripe with subtle contempt, and the right amount of indecision. Overall, the film is best suited for those fans of fantasy/fable-like horror, and while it might not scare the pants off of you, it definitely will give us all another reason to stay the hell out of the woods once and for all.

    • Film
    3.0

    Summary

    Children in a forest-setting don’t always add up to cutesy-pie encounters with furry creatures – this one’s got a few scares to keep fans of coppice-horror appeased.

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    User Rating 3.56 (18 votes)
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