Blood Cabin (UK DVD)
Directed by Drew Barnhardt
Starring Allen Andrews, Scott Christian, Kelly Devoto
Distributed by 4 Digital Media
Initially, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to say about director Drew Barnhardt’s Blood Cabin as it is, quite simply, a body count flick through and through. We’ve all seen the basic premise countless times as a gang of annoying teens take off to the woods for some booze, drugs, sex and partying in a luxury cabin only to become fodder for a hulking murderer.
Where Barnhardt’s flick stands out, however, is the rocketing pace which sees the offing of the unlucky teens begin almost literally as soon as they’ve set foot in the door and the fact that, very quickly, you come to realise just how firmly Blood Cabin’s tongue is wedged in its cheek. Our killer, Big Stevie, is a paunchy, balding, sincerely average Joe-looking character that you just can’t help but chuckle at when he’s around. Whether he’s looking startled having been discovered sipping on some tea before clubbing a victim, stoically drilling one particular unfortunate with the smallest hand-held drill I’ve ever seen while wearing a bath robe or, in one scene, calmly walking around the living area to tidy away the unruly teens’ mess and booze before taking a knife from a drawer to resume his killing spree you’ll always find him oddly endearing.
This is also one of the film’s major failings. At a very brief 67 minutes, Blood Cabin almost completely eschews any development of the victims leaving them nothing but frequently annoying cattle for the slaughter. As the climax approaches and the inevitable “final girl” finds herself tied up and engaged in Stevie’s frank and calm admission of his particular sexual quirk, the audience still fails to be concerned as to the outcome for our supposed heroine. Thus, the comedic success that a better play off between two actually developed characters could have provided is completely missed. A tonal shift in the final 10 or so minutes feels a little too jarring, with yet more delving into the Stevie character that paints a larger canvas of his background before just desserts are served. This particular sequence of events brings a sudden halt to the pace of the film but still manages some decent humour even if it doesn’t particularly pay off as obviously intended.
Still, for the most part Barnhardt shows a real knack for physical comedy and inventive staging making most of the stalk scenes surprisingly enjoyable and for a low budget flick the deaths are nicely bloody, savage, and well edited. The musical choices are at times utterly confusing, though, ranging from what sounds like the score to a 70s porn film to random metal songs through to up-tempo – and again, rather comedic – chase music. This type of schizophrenic attitude permeates Blood Cabin, leaving everything feeling rather uneven as it simply can’t decide whether it wants to be an out-and-out splatter comedy, a humour-tinged body count stab-fest, or a legitimate attempt at good old-fashioned stalk ‘n’ slash horror. This, coupled with the lack of character development (or even real plot development, for that matter) prevents it from realising the potential that so obviously begs to burst from the screen. Regardless, Barnhardt visibly has a love for the genre and serves up a nice helping of boobs, gore and real laugh out loud moments with a kinetic skill that definitely marks him up as one to watch out for in future.
While it’s already available in the US under the alternative title Murder Loves Killers Too, this DVD release from 4 Digital Media marks the first release for UK shores. Unfortunately, the screener version contained none of the retail extras listed below (of which there appears to be a rather good selection!), so that side of things can only be scored a middling 2.5 knives. Overall, though, the flick stands as an above average and enjoyable ride that’ll be over before you know it. Don’t expect to be blown away, but do expect a good time and a glimpse at a burgeoning talent behind the camera.
3 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5