Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ryan Nicholson's Bleading Lady and Dying for Scream Time: A Movie Review

Full disclosure: a screener DVD of this film was provided for review by Breaking Glass Pictures, which is the parent company of Vicious Circle Films.

Director/writer: Ryan Nicholson.

The first film from Plotdigger Films was Torched in 2004. Make-up effects artist and director, Ryan Nicholson then went on to produce several over the top gorefests such as Live Feed in 2006, Gutterballs in 2008, and the unwatchable Hanger in 2009. Nicholson has continued to progress behind the camera and his latest is from Vicious Circle Films entitled Bleading Lady (previously Star Vehicle). Here, Nicholson takes a stab at the horror genre, by cleverly turning the cliches of indie bloodfests in and upon themselves. The result is a laughfest, that slightly slows in the final act.

This title releases March 29th on DVD and the plot develops as a movie within a movie. Wes Craven's Scream film series developed in the same way, but here Nicholson takes a poke at indie horror filmmaking. Major releases are left untouched and Nicholson also laughs at himself with lines such as: "at least this film will not have dubbing" (Bleading). One of the other characters laments: "yeah, but your film will go straight-to-video" (Bleading). Meanwhile, a film crew is dissected by one horror fan and a film shoot quickly turns into a serial killer's wet dream.

The film's bloodshed begins with several antagonizing extras travelling to a local outdoor set. These characters, sadisticaly, do not have a carefree ride to their destination, and instead, Don (Dan Ellis), their driver, starts the party with a two foot machete. Later, Don turns his eyes towards the beautiful starlette Reversa, played by Sindy Faraguna. An independent film crew is also shortly offed, before the director screams cut!

This reviewer found himself enjoying this title's clever witticisms. The film laughs at itself with lines from the narrator to the audience such as "I know you are saying to yourself: 'let us get on with the blood!'" Then, the film does just that and horror fans will like other jokes such as "it is dead tonight." This dialogue comes right after Don has mangled another hapless victim. The self-consciousness of the film is one of the better elements, but unfortunately this humour is left behind in the final act.

In the closing scenes, there seems to be pacing issues. The film is drawn out slightly, even with the short 76 minute runtime and Bleading Lady could easily have been wrapped up in an hour. Also, the narration could have chimed into these later scenes too add further laughs. However, Nicholson has not completely shown all his tricks hiding in his sleeve. Let us just say that there is more than one blood-thirsty character in this film looking for screen/scream time.

The Bleading Lady will be released by Vicious Circle Films in a few months and this title is recommendable, while Nicholson's previous flicks would not be fully recommended. Hanger is especially brutal and this reviewer did not make his way to the ending. In Bleading Lady, much of the gore is left behind, but not entirely. However, the tongue-in-cheek approach to the film is what unifies most of the film. The laughter is the after effect of some great writing and dialogue with an attentive audience.

Pick this one up, if you are a fan of independent horror filmmaking. This film stands out from Nicholson's previous ventures by being self-aware. This is not your usual "slasher in the woods," (Bleading) and the uniqueness is appreciated.

Overall: 7 out of 10 (-1 for pacing is last third, -1 for losing the humour, -1 for a few too many f bombs in the first five minutes).

*Filmed in this reviewer's home province, British Columbia and the film actually references Victoria, B.C. (this critic's hometown)!

Nicholson's projects are laid out at Plotdigger Films:

Plotdigger Films' Homepage

Another review of this title at Cinesploitation:

Bleading Lady Reviewed at Cinesploitation

The film's homepage as Star Vehicle:

Star Vehicle Homepage

Available through Amazon now:

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