Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blood Punch is a Real Knockout: A Film Review

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*full disclosure: a DVD screener of this film was provided by Midnight Releasing.

Writer: Eddie Guzelian.

Director: Madellaine Paxon.

Cast: Milo Cawthorne, Olivia Tennet and Ari Boyland.

From the makers of various popular children's television shows, including Power Rangers R.P.M, comes the smart, kickass horror comedy, Blood Punch! Though seemingly unlikely to venture into the horror genre, writer Eddie Guzelian and director Madellaine Paxon come across as seasoned veterans. This high energy, action-packed, hysterical splatter fest with have you wondering why the two weren't making horror films all along. Blood Punch is a clever concoction of comedy, gore and a fantastic original story with stellar performances. Containing all the elements of a cult classic, this film is sure to spark the interest of Evil Dead heads and genre die-hards alike. If you're looking for something fun, smart and original, then put this on your must see list.

The film begins with a bang—Milton wakes up to find a video of himself that he doesn't remember making. In this video, he ends up cutting off two of his fingers. How is this possible? Milton has all of his fingers. From that moment on, viewers are totally locked in. Next, we are taken to a drug rehab facility where we find out that Milton is a super smart chemistry student, who also happens to be a recovering meth head. There he meets Skylar—a feisty young woman with a one-track mind—she's desperately determined to find an experienced druggie to help cook a bunch of meth for a big-time drug deal. After deciding that he is the chosen one, Skylar seduces Milton and convinces him to run off with her to cook some drugs and make some fast cash. But, of course, there's a catch.

Skylar has a boyfriend—a boyfriend with violent tendencies who “fucking loves guns.” He also happens to be in charge of the whole meth operation. After busting the two out of rehab, Russell (Skylar's boyfriend) takes Milton and Skylar to a secluded hunting lodge where they can cook up meth and have some fun. Unfortunately for Milton, that fun involves messing around with guns, among other things. Tension mounts as Russell becomes aware of the chemistry between Milton and Skylar, and when Milton discovers that Russell plans to kill him after he's finished cooking the drugs, things get a lot more crazy, and bloody.

Together, Skylar and Milton plan to off Russell so they can make the deal, take the money and be together, but the plan takes an unexpected turn. Russell won't stay dead. They kill him, but he continues to rise every morning as though nothing happened. Like a blood-soaked version of 1993's Groundhog Day, no matter what they do, the day seems to be on repeat. As Milton and Skylar continue on their confusing killing-Russell spree, trust waivers and the story unearths more than just bodies.

Most of the film takes place at the hunting lodge; the intimacy of the single setting works exceptionally well in a story that focuses on a few characters. With no other characters around, the atmosphere remains tense and the story stays focused. The few scenes that have other characters are, for the most part, boring and would have been best left on the cutting floor. The music in the film is what truly sets the mood—a mix of tango music and old-timey tunes from the '20s and '30s creates a quirky, fun vibe and suits the story. Though entertaining, the film drags on a bit too long, and some of the concepts are slightly played out nearing the end. If the editing team had cut roughly ten minutes, they would have had a more polished final product. Nonetheless, the movie is still successful on many levels, making for a thoroughly enjoyable watch.

Part of what makes this film so engaging is the phenomenal cast of kiwis who worked together previously on Power Rangers R.P.M. Olivia Tennet (Skylar) Milo Cawthorne (Milton) and Ari Boyland (Russell) have incredible chemistry. Each brings great energy to their character and projects the dark yet playful tone of the film perfectly. Tennet and Cawthorne, real-life husband and wife, are fun to watch as they try and figure each other out; cool to discover that the convincing onscreen romance wasn't all fabricated. Ari Boyland is incredibly entertaining as the trigger-happy psycho, Russell, adding a healthy dose of laughter, while maintaining intensity. These three actors will definitely be on this viewer's radar. Be sure to catch Milo Cawthorne in the awesome-looking upcoming horror comedy, Deathgasm, which is set for release in early October.

Although Bluff Road Productions is a young company, they have already put their bloody stamp on the industry. It appears that working in children's television inspires crazy creativity. Let's hope, for the sake of the genre, that Madellaine Paxon and her team continue to pump out more gloriously gory horror films. Thought not without faults, this first ditch effort at a feature film is impressive. Cleverly combining a hysterical original story, fantastic score and great actors, Blood Punch is sure to satisfy even the most delicate of palates.

Rating 7.75/10.

Writer Kenna Rae has her own personal blog, hosted here:

Hey Kenna Rae Blog/Website

Kenna is also a Twitter Scream Queen here:

Kenna Rae on Twitter

Recommended release: Triangle at Amazon Prime

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