Reviewed by D.W. Bostaph
Starring Mike Brune, Anna Chlumsky, Katie Rowlett
Directed by Alex Orr
This world is fucked. Global warming is going to cook us all. Drug resistant bacteria and viruses are going to kill us. Animal species are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate. The village idiot now runs the whole country, and the rest of the world hates us for it. Our food is tainted with shit, our toys are coated with lead, and gasoline prices have become so high that it costs us an arm and a leg each time we fill ‘er up.
Arm and a leg? You don’t say?
What would you do if you lived in a world where cars did run on such a commodity? Would you have the stomach to do what it took to survive? Getting to work would mean killing. Going shopping would require murder. A date would be to die for.
Taking a note from Jonathan Swift, the forces behind Blood Car use subtle satire and deftly nuanced humor to drive their point across like a sledgehammer to the crotch. Writers Hugh Breselton, Alex Orr, and Adam Pinney have envisioned a world where gas is over 30 bucks a gallon, and nobody drives because of it. This brings us to Archie Andrews. Vegan, idealistic, Archie wants to save mankind by creating an engine that runs off of wheatgrass juice. Working in the simplest, do-it-yerself lab in his home, Archie has not had much success.
Archie has to make runs to the local market to secure more wheatgrass juice. The market consists of two booths. One is full of veggie stuff, and Anna Chlumsky. The other is labeled “MEAT”, and is run by a local stuck on herself whore. Chlumsky plays Lorraine, who is infatuated with Archie, surrounded by vegetables, and very good at sketches of fellatio. Archie, too infatuated with his cause, is oblivious to Lorraine. Archie is, however, oddly attracted to the meat treat, Denise, but she considers herself too good to be bothered with the geeky likes of Archie.
The rest of the story is eerily similar to Little Shop of Horrors; Archie cuts himself making the wheatgrass engine. The addition of the blood makes the thing work and before you know it Archie has hooked up the blood engine (complete with giant blender in the trunk) to his car, and soon he’s on the road. He swings by the marketplace and the most amazing thing happens: the meat whore is all about him. One whiff of sex later and Archie is all but lost.
Car runs out of blood, bitch ditches Archie and Government goons arrive to just act stupid. The rest of the film is Archie the ultra-left-wing-eco-enviro-vegan-nutball’s inner turmoil between his convictions and his erection. Yes, my fiends, Blood Car is all about the lengths to which men will go to in order to be granted permission to revisit a woman’s love tunnel.
Director Alex Orr plays Blood Car as a series of sophomoric sight gags. This movie is rude and crude. Unlike Jonathan Swift, the narrative within Blood Car does not carry any real social message. The film is just too zany to be taken seriously, and when you understand that, then you have the keys to enjoying Blood Car. I had a great time just watching and enjoying the film. None of it really makes sense, and most of the jokes work, or at least the sight gags catch you off guard.
Orr and crew shock us a few times with depravity and black humor, but don’t expect Blood Car to be a blood bath. The effects are pretty simple, and the film is frugal with its guts and grue. The title is a bit of a misnomer, for Blood Car is just not all that bloody at all. There is a hell of a lot more tits and ass to be had in the backseat of this baby. I may be the only guy on the planet who thinks this, but Anna Chlumski is kinda geek hot. There I said it. Movin’ on.
Speaking of Ms. Chlumski, the former My Girl star does a serviceable job in her role, as does the rest of the cast. There’s little to be said in critiquing Blood Car because it is just so silly that paying any real critical attention to it seems even more likewise. I just found myself having a blast watching the film. There is nothing really special about it, and maybe that is Blood Car’s biggest sin. Maybe if they had just done a bit more with it. Tightened it up here or there, and spent a bit more time developing the look of the film, it would have been a genre classic.
Blood Car is not the best movie in the world. The idea is there, the execution is mediocre, but the sheer whiz-bang of it all just won me over. It will not please or appeal to everyone. All I can say is that it was a bloody good time. More of a curio than a classic, but fun nonetheless.
3 1/2 out of 5
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The Cured Review – Ellen Page Fights for Her Life
Written and directed by David Freyne
Taking a cue from AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” the new Irish horror film The Cured begins where most zombie stories end. Drawing more comparisons, the themes of mistrust and social upheaval are front and center here as well. We’re the real villains, and the infectious disease turning humans into monsters is only there to hold up a mirror to show the worst sides of ourselves. The Cured uses the zombie mythos as Romero intended as a commentary on culture, with a little cannibalism thrown in for good measure.
Against the backdrop of a military takeover attempting to reintroduce the recently cured back into society, two people try to return to some kind of normalcy in a war-torn Ireland that’s been turned upside down by the zombie menace. Recently widowed, Abbey (Page) allows her now virus-free brother-in-law Senan (Keeley) to live with her and her son, even though most survivors are forced to live in an army encampment. Under constant surveillance, Senan’s old friend Conor (Vaughan-Lawlor) radicalizes the mistreated survivors of the virus into open rebellion.
The treatment of the survivors isn’t entirely unfair considering that they still have a connection and are not detected by a small percentage of the infected that haven’t responded to the cure. As both sides size each other up, Abbey and Senan are caught in the middle as they try to restore their humanity before the powder keg around them erupts.
Given its far out premise, the story stays firmly grounded in reality, focusing on the growing resistance and its political implications, drawing parallels to the protest movements such as the “Black Block” that have dominated some recent news cycles. When the virus divided the population, it was easy to know what side you were on; now, the cure has created a new class structure where the lower class is maligned until they cross the line and overthrow the uninfected. Clearly still affected and haunted by the heinous acts they committed when they were infected, the cannibalistic rage they still carry reflects the rage felt by the mistreated masses hellbent on overthrowing the powers-that-be.
Whether for budget reasons or simply a style choice, the eating frenzies that occurred before the cure are never fully shown so any gore and graphic images that could’ve been showcases for effects are left to the imagination. Maybe they weren’t shown because these acts were so unspeakable that they are too horrific to see and too painful to fully be remembered by the survivors. The top-notch sound design ratchets up instead and roars to life to the point where just hearing the carnage is enough to make you turn away.
Page’s performance is the emotional core of the film as she goes from understanding to fear to dealing with the ultimate betrayal. It’s important for a slow-developing story like this to have an actress with some star power, and director David Freyne and his team were fortunate to have a high caliber actress ready to deliver in some of the film’s quieter, more intense moments. Freyne directs these smaller character moments with care and also delivers once things open up to show the inevitable anarchy brimming under the surface.
The Cured may feel too closed off at times to allow its bigger ideas to fully breathe, but it never pretends to encompass a more epic scope that would be more in the vein of something like World War Z. Without ever addressing it directly, Freyne, as an Irishman, seems well aware of the history of the country; and he and cinematographer Piers McGrail inject their film with a pathos that makes Dublin come to life inside the world of the undead.
The Cured is a gritty take on the genre that fits nicely into the new type of storytelling that these stories need to embrace in a post-Romero world.
Bad Apples Review – Rotten Fruit, Indeed
Starring Brea Grant, Graham Skipper, Alycia Lourim
Directed by Brian Coyne
Like a seriously bad rash, some films stick with you regardless of whichever topical ointment you slather in generous fashion over your regions – ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce today’s orbital irritant: Bad Apples.
Directed (rather misdirected) by Brian Coyne, this lamentably sterile piece of celluloid follows a couple of murderous sisters, donning horrific (and not in a good sense) masks, and generally putting the sharp edges to random folk on Halloween night…case closed. Only problem here is this: the film has no pulse, no interesting characters to speak of, and basically nothing to redeem or recapture the time that you’ll have spent watching this complete dud. A husband and wife duo has a spotlight on them as well, but their tempestuous relationship makes rooting for them about as pleasing as sitting through 3 hours of Olympic curling…absolutely brutal. Also, you’re reading the babblings of a guy who loves to put the boots to any film that has been deemed “unwatchable”, but this complete wreck of a production is entirely that – something so remedial and uninspired that to type an endless array of rightful vitriol would be an utter waste of time.
So I’ll go on a bit longer with my public display of vehemence, as the casting seems WAY out of whack, and the production? Whoa…don’t even get me started on this – okay, I’ll go on a bit. With differing levels of sound editing, you’ll get the feeling at times like you could pick up a needle drop inside of a concert hall, and other frames of dialogue are so muddled they’re incomprehensible (not like you’ll feel the need to know what’s going on). Wonky camera angles and following shots are so horrendously captured, you’ll be wishing to watch your Mom and Dad’s old home movies just to gain a sense of stability. I normally pride myself on not begging this particular audience to take what I say to heart, or to shy away from something that could potentially ruin their eyesight, but believe me when I plead with you: do not waste your valuable time on this shipwreck – even if your time isn’t all that valuable: don’t waste it. Find something else to do and take a big ol’ pass on this wannabe slasher.
I don’t mean to pick on the low-hanging fruit, but these Apples should be batted away with a Louisville Slugger.
Edge of Isolation Review – A Movie with a Simple Message: Don’t Trust Anyone
Starring Michael Marcel, Marem Hassler, Alexandra Peters
Directed by Jeff Houkal
Sometimes, relying on the kindness of strangers is the thing that’ll do your gullible asses in – kindness? Strangers? Come on – think about it! Even further proof of said warning comes in the form of director Jeff Houkal’s brutally blatant film, Edge Of Isolation – won’t you come inside and grab a seat? You see! You fell right into another trap – jeezus, people…don’t trust just anyone, will ya?
Set up in a simplistic format, we’ve got a traveling couple (Lance and Kendra) whose Jeep, conveniently enough decides to shit the bed along a desolate stretch of roadway, leaving them at the mercy of the Polifer family, a slightly odd bunch of backwoods residents. This particular clan isn’t exactly wrapped too tightly, and they’re not afraid to let their freak flags fly, that’s for sure. You see, the family has been deeply-rooted in these here woods, and their “hospitality” has kept them fed for quite some time, and with a fresh supply of unsuspecting commuters stopping in at varying spells, their stomachs never truly seem to growl out of sustained hunger…oh, that kindness will bite you in the ass every single waking moment.
As I mentioned earlier, the film is constructed fairly simple, yet effective in its barbarism, and those who dig survivalist-horror will be wringing their mitts in anticipation for this one. While some editing does look a bit hokey, the practical effects more than make up for an at-times bit of strewn-about plot navigation, but who’s keeping score? Certainly not me, that’s for sure. I absolutely revel in low-budgeted films that don’t necessarily have the looks and feels of such, and Edge Of Isolation is one of those presentations that is certainly worth its weight in blood and guts – do yourself a solid and give this one a look when it becomes available to the masses, and for f**k’s sake, don’t take up anyone’s offer to chill at their place when your ride breaks down – get AAA and save your life (the previous statement was in no way affiliated or endorsed by the Triple A Automotive group – just sayin’).
Edge Of Isolation doesn’t need a full-blown allocation to keep future stranded motorists from losing their heads – all they have to do is push “play.”
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