May-Sun Productions // 2006 // 93 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // January 12th, 2007
Alex works nights...unfortunately, nothing else about this movie does.
Alex used to be a good cop -- conscientious, detail-oriented, and sharp. But during a botched raid on a warehouse, the noble police officer learned an awful truth. The recent killings in his city were not the work of some mass murderer. No, actual vampires had taken over the town, targeting anyone with a heartbeat and a healthy supply of blood.
Obsessed with catching and slaying this supernatural scourge, Alex ignores his duties, both professionally and personally. Fast forward ten years, and the now-divorced derelict spends his days plotting his revenge and his nights exacting said payback. When his former partner, now a member of the undead, returns, hellbent on performing a strange ritual that will bring pure evil into the world, Alex is on the case. But he will soon learn that the past is never far behind, as his daughter Victoria and her bookworm friend Claudia get caught up in the paranormal plot of Jacob and his immortal mistress Xan. It will take all of Alex's skills to finally break the Blood Bound existence they all have.
Somewhere buried deep inside its un-involving and uninteresting narrative, Blood Bound might actually have a decent idea. Oh, sure, it's covered up in enough vampire hooey to give Anne Rice palpitations and brings absolutely nothing new to the entire neck-biter genre, but one could easily envision a film where a familial-like vendetta causes a monster hunter to pursue his unholy prey. Oh wait, didn't they already make that movie, too? Something called Blade? In fact, it's safe to say that the makers of Blood Bound never met a horror film -- especially any offering centering on that old claret lover Dracula -- that they didn't feel deserved to be revered, referenced, or just ripped off. Then, for a little added exploitation fun, they'll include some lesbian lovemaking and a scant few shots of naked titties. Yee-haw! If all of that sounds strangely familiar, it's because nothing here is new, novel, fresh, inventive, or inviting. As a matter of fact, a low-budget film like this argues that the vampire genre in general is more or less played out. When true fans can't find a way to make such macabre material original and exciting, you know a cinematic category is more or less dead.
The amateurish acting doesn't help matters much. Most homemade horror films rely on friends, relatives, crew, and random passersby to flesh out their casts, and Blood Bound is no different. As our so-called hero, Alex Szele is supposed to sell us on his character's decades-long struggle with evil. Instead of coming off like Chuck Heston circa Omega Man, we get a disheveled shell of a man, someone for whom bad personal hygiene is a personality trait. Similarly, John Hermann is supposed to give his former partner/reluctant leader an air of mystery and moroseness. In the end, however, his vamp looks more like a Blitz kid tired out after grooving on one too many Spandau Ballet tracks.
The women fair a little worse. Mary E. Morales as the level-headed -- and therefore guaranteed to go through the biggest annoying character arc -- Claudia is fine, up until the moment she turns vein drainer. Then it's all overly broad eye acting. As Xan (short for Alexandria), Toni Martin expresses each and every emotion like it was part of some skillful stripper seduction, while Amanda Kuchta makes our mandatory plot catalyst -- Alex's daughter Victoria -- into a walking ad for Girls Gone Wild: The Obnoxious Edition.
While it seems unfair to pick on such tired performances, the screenplay's not offering any cinematic salvation. The dialogue, even delivered in a pre-community college kind of emoting, runs the gamut from good to grating, with a lot of supposedly prophetic lines coming off as stiff and stilted. Credited to our own Judge Kerry Birmingham and his writing partner Joel Zawada (with some help from Mason Booker and Jared Stepp), the narrative frequently stops dead so that pointless exchanges that add nothing to the storyline can occur. After the fourth or fifth one, we stop caring if Alex will defeat Xan and Jacob, or whether Vicky and her pappy will reunite. Add in an odd priest who is probably fashioned after a certain "Me and Bobby McGee" songwriter from a Wesley Snipes flick, and you've got nothing but routine spills and chills. It's never easy to knock a solely independent effort, especially one where everyone appears happy to be part of the production and spirits -- if not production values -- were very high indeed. But Blood Bound doesn't have a unique story to tell. Instead, it lifts too many moments from other movies to stand on its own. Not even the Scarface-like sequence where a vampire gets a chainsaw to the skull will stir fright fans.
As for the DVD itself, it's too bad the filmmakers didn't have as much fun with the motion picture they were making as they do with the digital packaging and presentation. From subtitles that continue on long after the dialogue is over (and contain such classic quotes as "grkkkulle" when a vampire gets a stake in the heart) to four separate commentary tracks (one each for director, director of photography, the writers, and the producers), this is one tricked-out aluminum disc. The deleted scenes are somewhat interesting, the blooper reel is all joking and juvenilia, and the alternate ending is just a gag tacked on to the movie's fisticuff finale. As for the alternate narrative tracks, each one has its own unique style. All are entertaining, and provide some intriguing information about the film's creation and numerous pitfalls. As with other outsider efforts, the participants here are clearly students of the medium. Too bad they couldn't put more of their knowledge toward a better feature film.
Blood Bound is nothing you haven't seen before and, after a single viewing, you probably won't want to revisit it again. Guilty.
Review content copyright © 2007 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: May-Sun Productions
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Director's Commentary
* Director of Photography's Commentary
* Writers' Commentary
* Producers' Commentary
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Ending
* Blooper Reel
* Official Site