Blood Runs Cold (UK DVD)
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.
3 out of 5
2 out of 5